The Mermaid Chair

The Mermaid Chair

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The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd, Eliza Foss

The New York Times–bestselling second novel by the author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings 

Inside the church of a Benedictine monastery on Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.

When Jessie Sullivan is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother’s seemingly inexplicable behavior, she is living a conventional life with her husband, Hugh, a life “molded to the smallest space possible.” Jessie loves Hugh, but once on the island, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk about to take his final vows. Amid a rich community of unforgettable island women and the exotic beauty of marshlands, tidal creeks, and majestic egrets, Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, with a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right and the immutable force of home and marriage.

Is the power of the mermaid chair only a myth? Or will it alter the course of Jessie’s life? What happens will unlock the roots of her mother’s tormented past, but most of all, it will allow Jessie to comes discover selfhood and a place of belonging as she explores the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781415916254
Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
Publication date: 10/28/2005

About the Author

Sue Monk Kidd's first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has sold more than six million copies in the United States, and was turned into an award-winning major motion picture, and has been translated into thirty-six languages. Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, was a number-one New York Times bestseller and adapted into a television movie. Her third novel, The Invention of Wings, was a number-one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah's Book Club 2.0. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs, including the New York Times bestseller Traveling with Pomegranates, written with her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor. She lives in Florida.  


Charleston, South Carolina

Place of Birth:

Albany, Georgia


B.S., Texas Christian University, 1970

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The Mermaid Chair 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 341 reviews.
KourtneyH More than 1 year ago
In The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd does for fiction what the Flemish masters did for painting. She imbues each scene with so much reality it unfolds in your mind like a memory. You can taste the salty sea air and smell the murky island scents of Egret Island. You feel every horrific and blessed thing that Jessie experiences. I have never fallen so completely in love with a book before. Her writing is beyond beautiful. It¿s startling and humbling. I found myself nodding and rereading lines, thinking YES that is exactly how it feels but how did she capture it so perfectly? The book is brimming with brilliance. Some of my favorite lines are: ¿The mind is so good at revising reality to suit its needs.¿ ¿There¿s release in knowing the truth no matter how anguishing it is.¿ ¿Sometimes the heart wanted what the soul demanded.¿ The story felt like a mid-life crisis crossed with a finding oneself journey. Sue Monk Kidd¿s website describes the story as ¿the transendent tale explores the lush, unknown region of the feminine soul where the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic exists. Here is an unforgettable love story, between a woman and a monk, a woman and her family, and ultimately a woman and her own soul.¿ I think of it as a spiritual journey that leaves Jessie and the reader forever changed by calling into question the bonds of love and commitment. By reminding us that everything is a choice. Whether to leave a husband, to reunite with a parent, to be fully alive. Sue Monk Kidd is a master of the writing craft. Her ability to set the scene is breathtaking and realistic. Her dialogue is poignant. Her character¿s internal thoughts vivid and engaging. There was not one point in the book where I wanted to put it down. Every aspect of the writing was engaging. I will be rereading this book for years to come, hoping to gain insight into how she does it.
katyeager4 More than 1 year ago
This is much more a love story for adults than Secret life of bees. Well worth a read, and would make a great beach book.
Brandimsu More than 1 year ago
I read it in three sittings. I LOVED it. I also enjoyed the Secret Life of Bees, but I think this book was FAR BETTER! I think so many people can relate to the feelings of the main character of the book, although many would make difference choices than the character did. I found the book to be an easy read. I would suggest it to my friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If I hadn't read "The Secret Life of Bees", I would consider this one of the best books I have ever read. I did think "The Secret Life of Bees" was a bit better story.... but that may be just my particular interest. I disagree with the discussions of "age groups (40+) unless it is referring to 40 +++. I am 66 and thoroughly enjoyed this book. I find that the age and situation of the heroine in any book can be identified with, no matter what our situations as women. What I am not actually experiencing at the time, does not dim in memory or experience. I think ANY woman could identify with the heroine, and it was a really interesting concept and story. I would recommend anything written by Sue Monk Kidd, and I am looking forward to her next novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very easy read, suitable for flying
Jaime Brede More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
Foggy More than 1 year ago
Just when I was so in love with "The Secret Life of Bees", I read this one and I'm so thrilled with it now. I love her writing and the way she weaves and winds around her characters. I loved it from beginning to end.
Mrs_Lara More than 1 year ago
This book is so good I could not put it down. I kept it in my purse and read it at every spare moment and it continued to surprise me and kept me engaged in the story. It was a wonderful story and it was written in a way that allows you to be there with the characters. To see what they see and feel what they feel. I love this book. I read the Secret Life of Bees and this story even beats it which is amazing in itself!
JillBam More than 1 year ago
I think it was even better than "Bees". If your over thirty and married or ever been married add another star. Sue Monk Kidd is a gifted storyteller whose wit and imagination allow you to throughly lose yourself in this book. It's also a quick read. Great for Book Clubs.
khcrn03 More than 1 year ago
This was a simple story with lively characters. Loved it. Highly Recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Mermaid Chair' is a great story about a woman in her 40's discovering herself and those around her. A smooth read that at times will surprise you by making you reflect on your own life and the choices you've made.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutly loved this book! It was written with such a lot of understanding of women reaching middle age and the longing for and wondering about different choices one might make.The sometimes difficult trial of dealing with aging parents and being in a position to care for them was also right on target. I did not put it down until I was finished and I would love a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No sample available as all beginning pages are taken up with reviews.
LK_Hunsaker More than 1 year ago
An absolutely beautiful story about a woman who followed the expected path and did the right things only to be left empty, until her mother's guilt of the past breaks forth and pulls her along for a painful therapeutic journey of the soul. This is real. It's true. There were a couple of things here and there that threw me a bit, to include unnecessary political comments, but I can't even care about that because the story is so necessary. There will be a lot of readers who won't be able to relate, and that's good for them, I would suppose, but if you lack empathy for Jessie and her choices, it's time to open your heart and your eyes. So many women have been locked into the "good wife and mom" bit at the expense of themselves and never learn to break free. There are other ways to do it, but life is messy at times. I would have liked a little more fleshing out at the end, but the story has been told, changes have been made, growth is abundant, and optimism mixed with knowledge that more mess will come and need to be conquered leaves the reader satisfied, and maybe even purged. Just beautiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
L&iota|&alpha<_>h &sigma&#131 N&sigma<_>r&sigma &#22672 <p> Ag&epsilon- <br> 'Round 15 in human years <p> G&epsilon&eta<_>d&epsilon<_>r- <br> &female <p> A&rho&rho&epsilon&alpha<_>r&alpha&eta<_>c&epsilon- <br> She is a pure sea mermaid; she has never left the water and has never assumed legs; her skin is a pale ingido blue, her spine plated in hard scales; her eyes are aquamarine with amber splashes; hair is like raven feathers, falling past her waist; delicate yet sharp spines frill her face, her eyes arching; her tail is that of a seahorse, small spines and scales ridging it. <p> P&epsilon<_>rs&sigma&eta&alpha- <br> ... <p> O&tau<_>h&epsilon<_>r- <br> She grew up at sea. Her parents were captured and killed by pirates. She fled the disdraught and came to Noro. She made a few friends and went on a quest to find her parents. She has a run-in with the pirates, who told her her parents were dead. She left after Noro died and came here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Cordelia Stormlen <br> Age: 18 <br> Gender: ... <br> Appearence while dry: Long blonde hair, about midway it is blue that fades into white. Her skin is sunkissed and her legs are longer than most, making her a little taller. Her eyes are a amazing blue. <br> Mermaid appearence: her scales are aqua blue. Tail and top. Her hair is mint with blue streaks. <br> Crush: iaretiimoiuD. Figure THAT code out ^.^ <br> History: Please just ask. <br> Personality: Please just meet her <br> Other: ask <br> ~Cordelia
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was when the first review was written. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She woke up. "Good morning."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Secret Life Of Bees SUCKED, but this was an awesome book. Very real and passion filled.