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The Mermaid Chair

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Sue Monk Kidd

Narrated By: Eliza Foss

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Date: October 2004

Duration: 10 hours 20 minutes


The New York Times–bestselling second novel by the author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings 

Inside the church of a Benedictine monastery on Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.

When Jessie Sullivan is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother’s seemingly inexplicable behavior, she is living a conventional life with her husband, Hugh, a life “molded to the smallest space possible.” Jessie loves Hugh, but once on the island, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk about to take his final vows. Amid a rich community of unforgettable island women and the exotic beauty of marshlands, tidal creeks, and majestic egrets, Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, with a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right and the immutable force of home and marriage.

Is the power of the mermaid chair only a myth? Or will it alter the course of Jessie’s life? What happens will unlock the roots of her mother’s tormented past, but most of all, it will allow Jessie to comes discover selfhood and a place of belonging as she explores the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic.


  • Anonymous

    I liked this book a lot. I wanted more of an epilogue to see what happened to some of the characters. I loved the descriptions of the island and the legend of the chair. Would recommend!

  • Shane

    It takes a LONG TIME to get going. There are a ton of characters. And the story is a little predictable. But the plot is well defined. There is some intriguing action, and the imagery is real. Add a good narator and you have a good book for the read. Not in the class with Secret Life of Bees, but good nonetheless.

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed this one. This is the sort of experience that keeps me renting audiobooks.

  • Anonymous

    A warm story of transition allowing anyone to find meaning.

  • Amy

    This book was a good read, In some places it left something to be desired but overall I was glad to listen to it, ending I did not expect.

  • Anonymous

    After the listening to The Secret Life of Bees, I couldn't wait to hear The Mermaid Chair. I have to say that I was quite disappointed and almost didn't finish listening to the book. I found the main character to be very unsympathetic. We so often hear the story of the man with the midlife crisis who trades in his old wife and boring life for something new and exciting. This story isn't much different, even though the main character is female. The setting and main character's childhood issues add an interesting flavor to the story, but I don't recommend it.

  • Anonymous

    I loved Sue Monk Kidds book the secret life of bees but was very disappointed with the Mermaid Chair.

  • Anonymous

    This book was engaging and it got better as it went along. The recent movie did not do the book justice at all so don't use that as an indicator.

  • Anonymous

    I liked this book. It's not as compelling as The Secret Life of Bees, but I still enjoyed the story. It's about healing and love, especially loving yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Now I understand why Harper Lee never wrote another book. This books was such a disappointment after The Secret Life of Bees. It wasn't anything more than a shallow romance novel. I honestly don't understand how the author could spend as much time with this self-absorbed, yawningly boring heroine as she did.

Mermaid Chair

by Sue Monk Kidd

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Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd