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July 14, 2015



Have you ever received a book that changed your life? Simon Watson did, one July evening, when a musty, leather-bound book from the early 1800s lands in his lap, detailing his family history and revealing an awful lineage: Women in his family have always been able to hold their breath for extraordinary lengths of time --- like mermaids --- but they also have a knack for drowning themselves, each one of them dying in water on July 24th. But who ever heard of mermaids drowning?

Simon soon starts to believe in this family curse, though, after seeing his sister’s increasingly bizarre behavior --- eerily similar to how his mother acted shortly before she drowned. As he races against time to figure out how to stop the curse and save his sister, Simon realizes what is important to him in the process.

Swyler has crafted a book that focuses on the narratives of two men, centuries apart, both compelled to help the women they love. Love is a driving force in the novel, but what is perhaps an even more poignant theme is Swyler's exploration of how we imbue objects with meaning in a way that can last for generations and has the power to influence the fates of people who live long after us.

THE BOOK OF SPECULATION delivers a story full of mermaids, fortune-tellers, traveling circuses, old books and an overwhelming sense of desperation to keep those you love safe, even if it means destroying what you once held dear. What more could we ask for in an artful debut novel that will leave readers hungry for more? Read our review here.