I’m a sucker for a book about a book; even better when it’s a book about a book that includes a librarian as a main character. The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler has both of those things, plus it’s set in a small seaside town. I love a small seaside town. Check Check Check.
Simon Watson is a librarian with a tragic family, an old house that’s falling apart, and a library that’s losing its budget. In the middle of all of this, he receives a mysterious old book from a stranger. It’s accompanied by only a note stating that his family has connections to its contents.
Simon comes from a long line of circus “mermaids,” women who seemed to be able to hold their breath longer than would seem humanly possible. Through the story of his ancestors, Amos and Evangeline, Simon discovers something horrible. The women in his family all die on July 24th, the same day his mysterious mother drowned. As he reads, Simon realizes that July 24th is just a few weeks away and that his little sister is acting strangely. Simon is running out of time to figure out a way to end the curse that haunts his family.
If magical realism is your genre this will be right up your alley. Although parts of this book were pretty out there, if you can suspend your disbelief you are in for a really enjoyable read.
Read-Alikes: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Water for Elephants, Practical Magic,