The Rathbones by Janice Clark
I finished this book a week ago and I’m still reeling from this salty, violent, beautiful, sea siren song.
Mercy is the 15 year old scion of the once revered Rathbone family, and she lives in a ramshackle ghost of a house that once was home to the most powerful whaling family in the North Atlantic. With a cold, unyielding mother, and no sign of a father, she and Mordecai (her uncle who turns out to be her brother), set off on a sea journey to find some answers about their previously powerful family.
Unanticipated answers are found, family lineages are disentangled, and along the way they find figments of the last sperm whales, a colony of their Aunts who live on an island and spin wool, and Circe, a woman who has been living in a sea cave so long that she seems to be of the sea itself.
The pages seem like they’ve been soaked in a salty sea brine, that your hand might become ensnared in a piece of cold seaweed as you turn the pages.
An unexpected Homeric tale of the 1840s in the North Atlantic, with Mercy as a valiant little heroine.