The existence of the mermaid of the title runs through the narrative from start to finish, and brings an unsettling sense of other-worldliness to the story. Magical realism is a genre I enjoy, so this was welcome.
Georgian London assaults the senses in all possible ways, the lives and livelihoods of the women in the story are described in ways which do not always make for a comfortable reading experience. The historical detail is excellent, with well-researched vignettes adding charm, excitement and sometimes revulsion.
I enjoyed the sense of London as a living thing, growing and expanding in synch with the prosperity of the populace, and swallowing up anyone who was unable to keep afloat in the murky waters of Georgian society.
There is genuine pathos in the characters, they live lives full of regret and loss, but at the same time actively try to change their worlds for the better.