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The Shark Club

A Novel

Ann Kidd Taylor

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  • The Shark Club: The perfect romantic summer beach read


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"A quintessential summer read." -Marie Claire

A warm and wonderfully vivid novel about taking second chances-in life and in the sea

One summer day on the beach in Florida, two extraordinary things happen to Maeve Donnelly. First, she is kissed by Daniel, the boy of her dreams. Then, she is bitten by a blacktip shark.

Eighteen years later, Maeve has thrown herself into her work as a world-traveling marine biologist discovering more about the minds of misunderstood sharks. But when Maeve returns home to the legendarily charming and eccentric Hotel of the Muses where she was raised by her grandmother, she finds more than just the blood orange sunsets and key lime pies she's missed waiting for her.

While Maeve has always been fearless in the water, on land she is indecisive. A chance meeting on the beach with a plucky, irresistible little girl who is just as fascinated by the ocean as Maeve was growing up leaves her at a crossroads: Should she re-kindle her romance with Daniel, the first love she left behind when she dove into her work? Or indulge in a new romance with her colleague, Nicholas, who turns up in her hometown to investigate an illegal shark-finning operation?

Set against the intoxicating backdrop of palm trees, calypso bands, and perfect ocean views, The Shark Club is a story of the mysterious passions of one woman's life: her first love and new love; the sea and sharks that inhabit it.

Named one of Refinery29's best books of 2017

Named one of the best books of the summer by PopSugar Bustle Southern Living Coastal Living Marie Claire PureWow

"This one's a quintessential summer read: It's based in the Gulf of Mexico so even if you're only sunning at your local beach, you can still daydream of palm trees and pristine waters."
-Marie Claire

"A spellbinding meditation on one woman's unresolved past . . . Consider it required summer reading for anyone still tangled in the tricky project of growing-up."

"A delicious summer read."

"The beautiful descriptions of life under the sea will make you want to take a scuba diving class ASAP."
-Fodor's Travel

"Taylor vividly describes the tropical, touristy setting as she weaves romance and danger, taking the reader on a thrilling Florida vacation with an environmental twist. The Shark Club makes a truly delightful beach read."
-Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"A real beach read . . . [Taylor] brings a wealth of sharply observed detail to this novel, from the right way to make key lime pie to the joys of dealing with tourists."
-Tampa Bay Times

"A highly-readable mix of marine science and romance, set on the picturesque beaches of South Florida."
-Birmingham Magazine

"A great summer read whether you're on the beach or just wish you were."
-Charleston Gazette-Mail

"The Shark Club is a captivating story of love and loss, and a beautiful ode to the ocean and those whose hearts are drawn to it. Ann Kidd Taylor-and her novel's heroine, Maeve-understand the many sublime mysteries of sharks, and how deeply their fate is connected to our own."
-Susan Casey, author of The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks

"Captivating . . . An engaging novel about the loves that define our lives."
-Kirkus Reviews

"With humor and surprises, The Shark Club moves along briskly as Maeve struggles
to forgive, let go of past love, and navigate happiness on her own terms."

Ann Kidd Taylor is the coauthor of the New York Times bestselling memoir Traveling with Pomegranates. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.


Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 304
Erscheinungsdatum 05.06.2018
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-7352-2148-2
Verlag Penguin US
Maße (L/B/H) 19.8/12.8/2.5 cm
Gewicht 226 g


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  • This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof

    Copyright © 2017 Ann Kidd Taylor


    Tucking away a long strand of hair that floated in front of my scuba mask, I kicked through the blue-green waters of Bimini on the last day of my research term, keeping watch for Sylvia, a five-foot, four-year-old lemon shark I'd named for oceanographer Sylvia Earle. The shards of sunlight that pierced the water earlier had started to wane, leaving the surface brushed with shadows, and I glanced nervously at Nicholas, my dive partner, then checked my watch. We should have seen her by now. Just beyond her juvenile years, Sylvia had begun venturing outside the protective nursery mangroves where she was born, a habit that worried me, but one I also admired.

    Back on the small island off southwest Florida where I lived and worked as a marine scientist, they called me Maeve, the shark whisperer. It implied I could somehow get close to these apex predators, even tame them, which was, of course, a fatal kind of lunacy. The nickname had caught on even here at the Marine Field Lab in Bimini, where I'd spent the last six months tagging lemon sharks with passive integrated transponders, then tracking, collecting DNA on, photographing, and cataloguing them morning, noon, and night. I'd monitored close to a hundred of them, but Sylvia was the one I'd grown fond of.

    She had a funny habit of scooping up small bits of fish left behind after she'd bitten and gulped them down, as if she couldn't stand for anything to go to waste. Her frugality not only amused me, it endeared her to me. I liked the way she rested on the bottom after the other lemons swam off, claiming a little extra lounge time for herself. Lazy girl. I could usually identify her before I found the scar on her second dorsal, shaped like an upside-down checkmark. She had often swum closer to me than was comfortable, though I knew that theoretically lemons were generally nonaggressive, and it was probably my imagination and not my science that gave me the odd feeling she recognized me as well.

    "You two are simpatico," Nicholas had once remarked. He was only half joking.

    It was June 12, 2006, my thirtieth birthday. I should have been back in my small room packing or cooking one of those god-awful cake mixes in the communal kitchen to pass around to the other scientists after dinner to at least acknowledge the occasion, but I hadn't wanted to leave Bimini without a farewell dive. Tomorrow morning, Nicholas and I would be on a short, chartered flight to Miami. From there, he would head to Sarasota and his stingrays. Originally from Twickenham, England, he'd come to the United States as a student fifteen years ago and, after a stint in London, ended up in Sarasota at the prestigious Southwest Florida Aquarium. He'd recently become their youngest director of Ray Research at thirty-five. He'd been here at the Field Lab for a ten-month sabbatical-longer than any of us; I could only imagine how eager the aquarium would be to have him back. Me, I would go back to the Gulf Marine Conservancy on Palermo and to my grandmother Perri's hotel, perched beside the Gulf of Mexico.

    The Hotel of the Muses, where I'd grown up and where I still lived, was not your typical hotel on Palermo. While the rest of them were predictably nautical-seascapes over the beds, captain's wheels in the restaurants, aquariums in the lobbies-my grandmother's highbrow resort was overrun with books. Her hotel held readings and book talks in the lobby and had its own lending-library system with a trolley that went room to room along with the housekeeping cart. Every one of the eighty-two rooms was dedicated to an author whose work Perri admired-Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Gwendolyn Brooks, Octavio Paz, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Henry David Thoreau . . . The Tampa Bay Times had called it "the real buried treasure on the Gulf coast, a library hotel on Ecstasy." By summer's end I would leave all that "ecstas