Tuesday 7 May 2019

MRS. CALIBAN by Rachel Ingalls

Mrs. Caliban
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this lovely novella for a few months, and since I'm loving my new Paperwhite (Gen 10) I decided to check it out today.

Well, the intention was to get a taste, but I was hooked instantly and had to read it right away. I couldn't put it down!

Dorothy is a bored woman in a loveless marriage. Her husband is always working and when he's not working, he's out and about. Also, he's a total douche. I mean, I know some awful stuff happened that affected both of them in different (negative) ways, but Fred is totally gross.

Shortly after Dorothy hears about an aquatic creature escaping a facility on the radio, the frog-man invites himself into the house. Instead of being scared or outraged, she welcomes Larry into her home and starts sleeping with him...

Yeah, the premise of this novella is a strange one but the execution is so outstanding that it TOTALLY works. It's so well written, and is full of witty feminist dialogue that cracked me up.

As soon as Dorothy meets Larry, she's drawn to him. In spite of him being a tall, muscled green man who looks like a frog, she's never disgusted. She does everything she can to feed, protect and hide him from everyone--including her husband. Who is so aloof he doesn't even see what's going on inside his house.

Larry becomes her companion around the house. He helps with housework (which he enjoys), makes her feel comfortable walking around the house in a bathrobe (a look he likes), and they go on night walks together. Not to mention their conversations, the long drives, sitting together to watch TV and their, uh, sexy times.

He ignites Dorothy's passion in a way that thrills her, makes her feel alive and gives her a purpose. She feels happy about her little secret and becomes determined to help Larry get back home to the sea before the authorities find him.

This book is many things. It's a really sweet love story. It's intriguing and kept me guessing. And the ending totally blew my mind. I certainly didn't expect THAT. I thought we were in The Shape of Water territory here, but nope.

Also, another cool thing is that although Dorothy and Larry's tale is at the core of everything, there's a lot going on. See, Dotty has a best friend called Estelle. Estelle likes to play the field because after her divorce she's not interested in getting into one-man situations. Except, as the plot unravels some really disturbing and terrible secrets are revealed that turn everyone's lives upside down.

I have many favourite things in fiction, but one of my most fave is when everyday tasks are written into the story and don't feel like padding because every detail is essential to the plot. And this is a great example of why I love reading about characters getting on with their day.


It was such a lovely surprise. 🐸

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