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Song of the Sea Maid

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  219 ratings  ·  66 reviews
In the 18th century, Dawnay Price is an anomaly. An educated foundling, a woman of science in a time when such things are unheard-of, she overcomes her origins to become a natural philosopher.

Against the conventions of the day, and to the alarm of her male contemporaries, she sets sail to Portugal to develop her theories. There she makes some startling discoveries - not
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published June 18th 2015 by Hodder and Stoughton
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Circumstance, science, religion, discovery, adversity.

This was a fantastic read that made me feel a little warm and fuzzy - and probably not for the reasons you'd think. Especially since there are plenty of heartbreaking scenes.

I loved Dawnay. She's just incredible, with a voracious mind and a fierce will and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants - even if that means questioning her own morals and beliefs. She is a rather straight-forward thinker and not the most emotional of
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written story, it speaks profoundly, and I know that I am going to go on thinking about it for a very long time.

It begins in the middle of the eighteenth century, with a girl child who lives on the streets. She and her brother had only their wits to live on, stealing what ever they could to survive from one day to the next. I was captivated by this child, by her life and her spirit, by her utter reality, before I even knew her name. And I knew that I had to follow her story
MaryannC. Book Freak
Had this among my purchased books and on a whim picked it up to read the synopsis again, once I started reading, couldn't put it down.
A lovely read about a nameless orphan and her also nameless brother who live within the slum dwellings of London in the mid 1700's where they fight to survive poverty, filth and crime. One day the girl sees her brother dragged away to be "Pressed," a term used when boys and men were picked up off the streets against their wills to serve on a ship. As luck would
David Reviews
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing

This proved to be a truly wonderful read from Rebecca Mascull. The main protagonist is the delightful Dawnay Price and I adored her from the first few chapters. I read it in just over a day and sometimes you read a book and just want to go and tell everyone how good it is as soon as you’ve finished it. This is one such book and it’s highly recommend.

It’s the 1700’s and as a young child the vagrant Dawnay is taken from the streets of London and by chance ends up in a place for destitute children.
Dale Harcombe
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
The time is the eighteenth century. The main character is a Dawnay Price. She is a foundling and given that name at the orphanage she is taken to. From the beginning she is a girl with a curious mind who doesn’t always follow the rules. She draws the attention of a benefactor and, contrary to practices of the times, she is educated. She grows into a determined, wilful and highly educated woman, who is not content with being told information but wants to find out about life, history, science and ...more
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Posted in full

Song of the Sea Maid is Rebecca Mascull’s second novel, following The Visitors which was published back in 2014. The Visitors was simply stunning, a beautifully written and moving story, but Song of the Sea Maid was even better. I absorbed myself in this book right from the opening page, the opening line even, and what followed was a story almost poetic in prose but wholeheartedly accessible, with truly captivating and thought-provoking
Joey Woolfardis
Goodness this was the most boring and plotless book I've read in such a long while. The beginning was rather intriguing with Dawnay (a nameless street urchin to begin with) losing her brother to press-ganging sailors and finding herself in an orphanage. Sadly, the story continues at a snail's pace as we have to sit and listen to Dawnay telling us about every single little thing she does at the orphanage, most of which could be conveyed in one sentence alone; I felt as if they author was treating ...more
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is the 18th century. A very young girl is roaming the streets with her brother and stealing food to survive, however her brother is taken away by a press gang and Dawnay is left alone. She makes a mistake when trying to steal from a gentleman but instead of being punished, she is taken to an orphanage. Her life improves somewhat; although the food rations are poor, she does at least have a safe place to sleep. She is given the name Dawnay Price and this is where her story really begins.

Katherine Clements
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been looking forward to Rebecca Mascull’s second novel ever since her beautifully written debut, The Visitors. I wasn’t disappointed. Second novels are famously tricky but Mascull has managed to avoid the curse with Song of the Sea Maid, a deeply satisfying story that packs just as much emotional punch.

In Dawnay Price, Mascull has created a compelling narrator: unconventional, strong-willed, pioneering and with more than a little feminist attitude. Despite being so ahead of her time Dawnay
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling

My View:
“I dream of running away…it is the idea of escape that is alluring, yet also the thought of living as a boy, as a man, appeals keenly. To escape the strictures of feminie dress and limitations – the narrow and small lives women live in our age – to escape that and be a swaggering man free to follow his own destiny that is something to covet.” Dawnay Price 1740 (pps59-60)

“To escape the feminie limitations – the narrow and small lives women live in our age – to escape that and
Lady Fancifull
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with an interest in well written fiction which is also a page turner!
'they have slackened my rope and given me a taste of the world beyond my fence. And I will have more of it, mark my words'

So states the female central character of the eighteenth century set Song of The Sea Maid.

I have been eagerly and anxiously waiting for Rebecca Mascull’s second novel The Song of The Sea-Maid, after her first novel, The Visitors, was one of my stand-out novels of 2014

I did indeed enjoy, enormously, this second novel by Mascull, even though I was not as completely bowled over,
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Homeless, orphaned and hungry, this young girl has just seen her only family member and ally press-ganged to sea. Without the brother who stole for her and protected her on the dirty and dangerous streets of eighteenth century London, it would be easy to lose hope. Her attempt at stealing goes horribly wrong, but her victim, a wealthy man, sees a spark in this child's eye and finds sympathy for her. This is the turning point in her life. Delivered to an orphanage, she is christened Dawnay Price, ...more
Vicci Routledge
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As a huge fan of The Visitors I couldn't wait to read Rebecca Masculls second novel and it did not disappoint. A beautifully written, well rounded story which stayed with me long after I had finished reading. The voice of main character Dawnay Price is clear and believable and the author cleverly sweeps you along on Dawnays journey from the poverty of a London orphanage to the stunning island of Menorca. Written with an enchanting, sometimes magical feel this original, moving story is a perfect ...more
Ellie ↟
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful literary expedition to warm the heart and open the mind. This is perfect for fans of Jane Eyre and truly an unforgettable read.
Jessica O'Toole
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally reviewed on Becca's Books.

Song of the Sea Maid is the first novel by Rebecca Mascull that I've had the pleasure of reading, although I do have a gorgeous copy of her first book The Visitors waiting patiently on my bookshelf. It constantly catches my eye whenever I pass by my desk and I really hope to get to it soon, because after reading Song of the Sea Maid and falling so very deeply in love with Mascull's style, characters and truly brilliant voice, I feel that I'm in for a
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
What a treat this delight of a novel was to read.

So much, well, bigger than I imagined it would be. It tells the story of a young orphan, separated from her only sibling when he is captured by a press gang and she is left alone to fend for herself on the mean streets of 18th century London.

Trying to make a crust for herself at the tender age of perhaps 4 or 5 years of age it’s hardly surprising she soon comes a cropper, but fortunately the gent she tries to rob becomes her saviour, taking her to
Travel the journey here: Booktrail of the Sea Maid

A poor woman makes an important scientific discovery in times past but will she be remembered or ridiculed?

From London to the islands of Portugal, this is the story of a woman on the biggest mission of her life

Dawnay’s journey of discovery takes her from the poverty of a London orphanage to the stunning Berlengas archipelago, the island of Minorca and the cool crisp blue waters of the Mediterranean of the 18th century.

Travelling by boat in a time
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh, this book was rather disappointing, even though it started so well!

Dawnay Price is an orphan who spend her earliest years on the street before ending up in an orphanage. There she discovers a lust for knowledge, and an intelligence to pursue it, which leads to her becoming the ward of a wealthy benefactor.

Once a grown woman, she embarks on a journey of scientific discovery to the Iberian peninsula, in search of the origins of human kind. There’s some talk about mermaids and sea people, a bit
This review can also be found here on my blog.

*I was fortunate to receive an eARC of this book before release via NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton. Thank you!*

Read that description, see that cover, and then tell me you're not interested in this book. I was hooked before I even read the first page, and when I had read the first page, I knew there was no turning back. We are introduced to an orphan, unnamed and happy with her brother, roaming the streets of London. It's the 1700s and the world
Vicky-Leigh Sayer
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Often when you read a debut novel by a talented new author you wonder if 'the difficult second book' will live up to your expectations. I never had any such worries about Rebecca Mascull's latest offering. There are some authors who you just instincively know you will love whatever they write. Rebecca Mascull doesn't disappoint.

Song of the Sea Maid opens with our (quite simply amazing) protagonist Dawnay Price as a young girl, being taken to an Asylum for the Destitute Wretches of the Streets
Jo Barton
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The mean and moody streets of eighteenth century London are no place for abandoned children and yet, two young siblings, names as yet unknown, eke out a meagre existence by petty pilfering, taking food where they find it, and surviving by their considerable wits. But the fickle hand of fortune sees the older boy forcibly pressed into a life at sea, leaving his small sister at the mercy of her own fate. Rescued by a providential stranger, the girl is removed from the anonymity of the streets and ...more
Sonya Alford
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in return for an honest review.

This story is set in the 18th century. Dawnay Price has had a hard childhood so far. Living on the streets of London, she is then taken to an orphanage where she stays for many years. Dawnay is a very bright child and wants to learn as much as possible. Luckily she gets the chance to be educated and this opens up many avenues for her. A woman of science, she is a natural philosopher.

Dawnay is determined not to let
Louisa Treger
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved Rebecca Mascull’s first novel, The Visitors, and was eager to read Song of the Sea Maid. Mascull is clearly going from strength to strength as a writer, with some characteristic themes emerging. She has a gift for recreating the past (the Victorian era in The Visitors; the eighteenth century in Song of the Sea Maid), complete with authentic language and rich period detail. She is clearly a meticulous researcher, but she wears her research lightly, blending it seamlessly into ...more
Karen Mace
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, netgalley
I received a copy of this via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.

Immediately drawn to this book from the cover, and what i discovered inside didn't disappoint!

This is the enthralling story of Dawney who grew up on the streets of 18th century London with her brother, until he was snatched away and put on a ship to work. Dawney - as she is to become known as she doesn't know her name - is then found and taken to an orphanage where her quest for knowledge and learning begins. She
Beth Miller
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I just loved this book. It's a beautifully written account of Dawnay, a young woman from a very poor background, whose independence and intelligence are considered unusual for the time (the 1700s). She develops gradually into a woman with a great feel for science, and she pre-empts many of the theories of the origin of humans that we know now to be correct. But she is still clearly a woman of her time, with beliefs and limitations that seem entirely in keeping with her personality.

There are some
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physical-copy, signed
Song of the Sea Maid is a beautifully written book. It reads very much like a classic, and I wasn't surprised at all to discover that Rebecca Mascull worked hard to make her prose eighteenth-century appropriate. Just like in old classic novels, the story moves chronologically, following the main character, Dawnay, from early childhood, to youth, through to her adult adventures.

The story itself took a little while for me to get into, but once I did, I appreciated what an intelligent, historically
Michael Rumney
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting idea about a female scientist ahead of her time, how female biology affects opportunity and postulating Darwinism before Darwin. The protagonist Dawnay is a determined character where war or natural disaster will not stop her. How realistic she is for that time is debatable but without these characteristics the plot would flounder. She does get involved with a Naval Captain and this I wasn't sure about as would he want to be involved with someone below his station?
Certainly worth a
Changed from 4.5 to 5 stars!

Right book at the right time is what Song of Sea Maid is for me.
I won this book several months ago but somehow it crept under several other books.
I have recently craved more plots with strong independent characters full of intelligence particularly women.

I thoroughly enjoyed how Rebecca has included Science, she makes an important point in the acknowledgements.

We need more authors like this. I can't wait to see what Rebecca has next.

Highly recommend.
Linda Hill
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
No spoilers review here of a highly intelligent and brilliantly written book.
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Rebecca Mascull lives by the sea in the East of England.