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The Old Mermaid's Tale: A Novel of the Great Lakes
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The Old Mermaid's Tale: A Novel of the Great Lakes

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  174 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
(Novel - 132k words. Love Story, Coming-of-Age, Historical - Paperback or eBook) In 1960 when Clair Wagner's friends are showing off their new bikinis at the local swimming hole and planning weddings, Clair is plotting her escape from her rural farm-community life. She is headed for college on the shores of Lake Erie with plans for the future and dreams of a "handsome sail ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by Parlez-Moi Press
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 09, 2015 Darcy rated it really liked it
This is the sort of quiet book that sneaks up on a person. Going into reading it I actually thought it would end up in my dnf pile, but there was something that kept me reading. I'm not sure if it was the innocence of the time period or maybe Claire herself, but whatever I'm glad I kept reading.

I was pissed with how things turned out with Pio, hated that he took the easy way out. But once Batiste showed up I was all Pio who? You wouldn't think that Batiste and Claire would work, but there was s
Sep 22, 2011 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sep-11
This book has to be one of the best love story's I have ever read.

Kathleen has a magical skill of making her characters real, believable and true. Although fictional, she has the ability to make them reach out of the pages and touch us.

It was beautifully written and it reached out into the depths of my soul.

What a wonderful story that will stay with me always.

I highly recommend this book!!!
Feb 06, 2014 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, 2014
I can't believe I enjoyed this book as much as I did since I do not usually like "romance novels", but this was no simple and superficial love story. The author is a gifted storyteller, creating characters and locations that come to life on the pages. It was beautifully written and the characters will be with me for some time to come. I look forward to reading more from this very talented writer.
May 11, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing
I just finished The Old Mermaid's Tale I give is 5++++++ stars. The writing was incredible, I loved every character, I didn't want it to end. It is now one of my favorite books of all time.
Wendy T
Sep 13, 2011 Wendy T rated it it was amazing
This was such a wonderful story. This book made me laugh and cry and just didn't want this book to end. I was actually surprised by the ending but would not of wanted it to end any other way.
Kathleen Valentine
I can't rate it because I wrote it................
Lyn (Readinghearts)
Feb 03, 2012 Lyn (Readinghearts) rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: the Sisterhood
I have read several short stories by Kathleen Valentine, and I have enjoyed all of them. This is the first full length novel of hers that I have read, though. When an author is successful as a short story writer, I always wonder whether they can sustain that level of writing in a full length book. It is with great joy that I found that Kathleen Valentine is a wonderful success at both. In fact, this book will definitely be on my top books read in 2012 list. I was discussing the book with a frien ...more
Dennis Batchelder
Dec 06, 2008 Dennis Batchelder rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and Lyrical

I was totally captivated by Clair Wagner, the storyteller of Valentine's lyrical novel, The Old Mermaid's Tale.

The story is set in a 1960's Lake Erie town. It's Clair's coming-of-age tale mixed with two love stories: Clair and Baptiste sandwiched between Clair and Pio.

Valentine sprinkles her book with delicious folklore tidbits: Baptiste's Breton sea-lore, Lake Erie seamen tales, and tales and folk music from the early sixties. The setting evokes memories of the unique lif
Jun 20, 2011 Dara rated it liked it
Beautiful writing! This story went more slowly for me than is my usual, but I really enjoyed it! I really felt the emotion of the characters, and believe me there was plenty to feel! I didn't agree with all of the choices Clair made... which is natural considering I personally identified most with her mother. I'm a small town "good girl" who is content to live a normal, simple life. I greatly admired Clair's courage and innate kindness. I also loved reading all the stories and legends scattered ...more
Aug 11, 2011 MARILYN rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a book you think you're not going to like will give you a shock and you become totally engrossed it.
The Old Mermaid's Tale was that for me. Although I think it's considered a romance novel I see it more as a coming of age story. It takes place in the early 60's around Western PA and although it is basically a love a story it's not the least bit sappy or silly. This is one of those books that I will be urging everyone to read.
LK Hunsaker
Jun 02, 2012 LK Hunsaker rated it it was amazing
This is the first indie book I've rated 5 stars. A beautiful story, beautifully written. Coming of age. Insightful. Wonderful real characters and setting. A must read for mainstream fiction lovers. This one will seep into your soul and stay with you.
Linda Ash
Mar 29, 2011 Linda Ash rated it it was amazing
I have a Nook Color ereader. Embossed on its cover is this quote from Sir Christopher Wren, “Choose an author as you choose a friend.” I first learned about Kathleen Valentine when I came across her website. From the site, I got a sense of the kind of person she is, kind, talented, and energetic. I also noticed that she and I share some of the same interests. Upon looking over her collection of authored books, I was drawn to The Old Mermaid’s Tale. I remembered the quote on the cover of my Nook, ...more
Aug 12, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read by this author and definitely won't be the last.

Where to begin... WOW!

This was such a good book that I don't know where to begin with a review. I'm almost at a loss for words. But it was such a good book. A wonderful story of love, laughter, love, tears, friendships forever and new beginnings. It had it all plus emotions that I would not have any idea how to write.
I absolutely LOVED this story from start to the very last word.

Claire was a small town farmer's da
Nov 10, 2010 Ruth rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and found myself in tears in several places. It is a beautiful romance about a young woman who leaves home to go to college hoping to meet the man of her dreams and she does, actually three men of her dreams but all of them come with complications. Pio, Clair's first love, is a fisherman who has big dreams of his own and they take him away from her. Gary, her second love, is every woman's dream come true, but he has personal problems he needs to work out and their relationship ...more
This book nearly broke my heart. I didn't really like most of it that much, but I was still crying at the end. I picked it up thinking I was going to read a romance. It was clear from the beginning that this book was really more about the characters of Canal Street, and the seamen that live and work the Great Lakes. The strong theme throughout was the the idea of romance. Not romance in the sense of two people loving each other, but rather the romance you can find in everyday life. The main char ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-edition
Clair rebels against her farm upbringing and goes to college in the big city (nope, not NY) on the shores of Lake Erie. There she meets all sorts of characters that live and work on the seedier side of town in the shipyards and docks where she falls in love with the least likely (but highly likable) candidate.

I did like this book a lot in the beginning and until about 3/4 of the way through. The writing is very good, most of the characters were interesting and believable, the balance between dia
Cheryl, The Book Contessa
Kathleen Valentine has an amazing gift as an author. She is able to transport you as the reader to your destination in this book & take you on a journey of lives connected by the sea. As I read The Old Mermaid's Tale, I felt that I knew Clair, Gia, Rosie, Sal, Gary, Baptiste. I walked with them into the local taverns. My heart ached with theirs when they were crippled with loss and heartache. I preach that I am not a romance reader. I may have to wave my white flag, if this is how its done! ...more
Ruth Madison (Dev Love Press)
Apr 07, 2012 Ruth Madison (Dev Love Press) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is so beautiful that I'm a little bit speechless.

The language soars. It is rich and melodic and evocative. There are very strong characters and I really related to Clair and her romantic wanderlust. I enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes because everything glowed with magic.

The title and the cover threw me off a bit. I was expecting it to take place in the 1700s and be far removed from reality. Actually it takes place in the 1960s and calls forth startling detail of the area as we
Val Wilkerson
Dec 14, 2011 Val Wilkerson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books-read
This is a romance story, taking place in the 60's. I'm not usually one for romance
but Kathleen painted such glorious characters and scenery it just swept you along.
Everyone looks back on their teens and twenties and recalls the favorite coffee shop
you gabbed with your friends at, or the beach you hung out on...and you always go back
and its changed and you remember exactly how it was back then. This book will make you
look back on those places and people who formed your life. It was a great book.
Sep 03, 2011 Annie rated it really liked it

This book was graciously provided for review purposes.

The Old Mermaid's Tale is beautiful. Set in the 1960s, the story revolves around a young girl named Clair who is torn between two loves. I am not usually a romantic genre fan but this story had the right elements of romance to keep you reading and the story featured such wonderful characters. Although, the story was set in the 1960s, the characters could very well be living today -- living, breathing, and loving. This novel was a breath of fr
Tracy Troup
Feb 28, 2013 Tracy Troup rated it really liked it
This book was not what I expected. It took me back to my teenage years, where I was as much a romantic as Clair. Unfortunately, I wasn't brave enough to choose the romantic and fantastical path! ;). But oh, this book made me smile, and cry. The words, the emotions, the feelings..... all beautifully written. Loved it.
Dec 16, 2011 Tammie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice read. It is interesting to read about the characters' mysterious lives. Everyone has a personal story that makes them who they are and the decisions they make. Although the book is about Clair, I enjoyed reading about the characters around her more. This book is about a fascinating unfolding of events in people lives in a town by the Great Lakes.
Joanne Moyer
I closed out 2011 with this one and it was a great way to end the year. The story of Clair's journey as a young woman in the 1960's is so detailed you feel like you are there. Lots of interesting characters and locations - all in all a great read.
Dec 29, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing
The characters in this book dragged me in and kept me there. The author's use of language was vivid and this book that created pictures in my mind. It broke my heart and I still would recommend it!
Sarah Katherine
Apr 26, 2013 Sarah Katherine rated it it was amazing
Simply a beautiful read. This will definitely go into my classic favorites column to reread someday. Just gorgeous.
Jan 19, 2012 Amanda rated it it was amazing
This is a great novel about growing up, learning to love, and learning to let go.
Angela Murnin
Nov 20, 2012 Angela Murnin rated it it was amazing
Loved this story. Tear jerker at the end.
Jan 22, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing
A very satisfying book. Interesting back ground and great characters. RECOMMEND!!
Jan 09, 2013 Renee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 6-star-books
Beautiful but heartbreaking.
Billie Hinton
Feb 06, 2012 Billie Hinton rated it it was amazing
A rich, absorbing tale of love and work and how the two commingle - a wonderful read.
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Sisterhood of the...: The Old Mermaid's Tale by Kathleen Valentine 31 30 Jul 05, 2013 08:33AM  
  • The Dream You Make
  • The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis
  • Wishing for Wonderful (Serendipity, #3)
  • claire-obscure
  • Bella
  • Beautiful Disaster
  • Five Dances with Death: Dance One
  • Tristan and Iseult
  • The Master of Verona (Star-Cross'd #1)
  • Her Sister's Shadow
  • DragonFly (Missions of The DragonFly Squadron #1)
  • The Last Cherry Blossom
  • Tinsel and Frost
  • The Wishing Hill
  • White-Knuckled Moments
  • A White Room
  • Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence
  • How to Dump Your Boyfriend in the Men's Room
From the Allegheny Mountains where she grew up, to the Gloucester seaport where she now lives and writes, Kathleen Valentine loves nothing more than listening to the stories that people tell while sitting on front porches, gathered around kitchen tables, or swapped in coffee shops and taverns. Her collection of legends, folklore, and tall tales are woven into her fiction. The award-winning author ...more
More about Kathleen Valentine...

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“The soul, they say, is divine and the flesh is iniquity. But I am a musician and I ask this - without the wood and the strings of the violin, where would the sonata find form?” 12 likes
“I remember the strength of her body writhing inside the velvet. And, suddenly, the velvet was gone as though my greedy hands had worn it away and she stood flushed and trembling before me. I forgave every complaint I had leveled against God at the sight of her tremulous beauty—wisps of curls like trickles of burgundy trailing over breasts as plump and round as a pair of bandy hens fattened up for Sunday dinner. I could scarcely touch her. My fingertips traveled over her roundness. In rashness I gathered her to me, pressed against her ... lay her down. I was inside her before her back touched the sheets. Her sighs could give birth to new stars.” 1 likes
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