Priddy’s Tale by Harper Fox, narrated by Chris Clog

Muscular dark-haired man wearing only a sand-coloured towel, looking down as he fastens it around his hips, against the backdrop of a brick wall with a quartered window.Why I read it:  I downloaded this one with the #AudibleRomance package.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  What doesn’t kill you sometimes makes you wish it had…

Priddy’s a lost soul in a part of Cornwall the tourists don’t get to see. He’s young, sweet-natured and gorgeous, but that’s not enough to achieve escape velocity from his deadbeat village and rotten family life.

He’s a drifter and a dreamer, and self-preservation isn’t his strong suit. An accidental overdose of a nightclub high leaves him fractured, hallucinating, too many vital circuits fried to function in a tough world. When a friend offers him winter work in a lighthouse – nothing to do but press the occasional button and keep the windows clean – he gratefully accepts.

His plans to live quietly and stay out of trouble don’t last very long. A ferocious Atlantic storm washes a stranger to Priddy’s lonely shore. For a shipwrecked sailor, the new arrival seems very composed. He’s also handsome as hell, debonair, and completely unconcerned by Priddy’s dreadful past.

Priddy has almost given up on the prospect of any kind of friendship, and a new boyfriend – let alone a six-foot beauty with eerily good swimming skills – out of the question entirely. But Merou seems to see undreamed-of promise in Priddy, and when they hit the water together, Priddy has to adapt to Merou’s potentials too, and fast. His lover from the sea might be a mere mortal from the waist up, but south of that line…

Far-flung west Cornwall has a hundred mermaid tales. Priddy’s loved the stories all his life. Now he has to face up to a wildly impossible truth. Merou’s life depends upon his courage and strength, and if Priddy can only find his way in the extraordinary world opening up all around him, all the ocean and a human lifetime needn’t be enough to contain the love between merman and mortal.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  While I have many Harper Fox books on my TBR, I haven’t read most of them. I remember enjoying Life After Joe after it was first released – way back in 2010 now. What sticks in my memory is how well Ms. Fox writes melancholy. There is a way she writes which is poignant and sweet and sad but not tipping over into emotional torture porn or OTT melodrama. Like Nora Roberts, Ms. Fox makes me care about characters quickly. And in Priddy’s Tale, I cared so much about Priddy almost from the start of the book. He’s young and a little lost, recovering from an accidental drug overdose which has derailed a life which was already difficult because of an abusive father. When Priddy’s best friend, Kit, leaves town to attend university, Priddy feels very alone.

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