Review published on February 9, 2018.
I can’t say I’m much a fan of sharks (I remember watching Jaws as a child and having been veritably scarred for life), but Ann Kidd Taylor’s debut novel weaves this age-old monster of the seas into a glorious tale of family, love and nature. Protagonist Maeve is a marine biologist who specialises in the preservation of sharks, despite herself being bitten by a shark when she was twelve. It was at this time that the second major milestone took place in Maeve’s life – she fell in love with Daniel. But while sharks have remained a constant, Daniel and Maeve’s relationship hit rough waters. When Maeve returns from her latest expedition though, Daniel is back with daughter, Hazel, in tow, and it is through the unexpected bond between Maeve and Hazel that the shark club of the title is born. Whilst Daniel, Maeve’s twin, Robin, and her sassy gran, Perri, all play their parts in this story, it is Hazel that draws out the real emotion and heart of the tale and the author explores this relationship beautifully. The Floridian setting of the book is a tantalising backdrop – and bookworms will fall in love with the literary-inspired hotel where much of the action plays out. And of course there are the sharks. The author offers a very different perspective on the creatures from which the book takes its title and I think readers will certainly come away feeling more empathetic towards these much-maligned creatures. At times the novel does become rather melodramatic, but there are also both some lovely sentimental and cinematic moments, and on the whole I found the novel a really refreshing and curious read, not least because of the sharks.
Jade Craddock 4/3
The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor
Headline Review 9781472247162 pbk Feb 2018
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