Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
|Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon|
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock|
|Summary: An average read with many missed opportunities, but still enjoyable if you're looking for a light, romantic read without too much to think about.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: March 2011|
|Publisher: Headline Review|
|External links: Author's website|
On a stormy night, two very different Princesses save the life of a drowning man.
The first, Lenia, is a mermaid, Princess of the sea. Tired of life underwater, she dreams of her eighteenth birthday when she's allowed to spend one day in the realm of humans. Though it's stormy and dangerous, she can't resist a trip to the surface, where a boat is sinking, human men drowning all around her. When Lenia lays her eyes on one man in particular, she knows she has to save him. Carrying him to the shore, she calls out to a human girl on the cliffs to do what she cannot – to bring him to real shelter and warmth.
Human Princess Margrethe is the girl on the cliff. Stowed away in a convent to keep her safe from the impending war, Margrethe longs to feel the call the nuns do – the devotion to a cause. When the mermaid signals her on the beach, she feels that call, feels that the drowning man was sent for her to save, for her to love. She doesn't realise that the mermaid too loves him, and is prepared to do anything to be with her love, even if it means giving up the sea.
Mermaid is a retelling of the classic fairy tale The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. Actually, retelling perhaps isn't the best word – it's more of a fleshing out. It's so incredibly true to the original story that reading it is a bit like playing a very difficult game of spot the difference.
It maintains the whimsical, yet dark feel of the original tale, but then it's hard to praise that as a good thing when it maintains pretty much everything. The writing isn't bad and the switching between Margrethe's viewpoint and Lenia's does add an extra dimension to the tale, but for me it was a book of missed opportunity.
To keep the fairy tale style, there were lots of points where an interesting character or concept was introduced, but then brushed under the carpet as the rest of the main story unfolded. In particular, there was a nurse who it was intimated was also a mermaid come to live in the human world. I wanted to hear more from her – to learn if she was in fact a mermaid, or if it was Lenia's imagination, what it was like to live as a human for years. These avenues were passed over for the main tread of the narrative, and the book felt incomplete for it.
That said, it wasn't a bad read. Average entertainment worth borrowing from a library and enjoying for what it is – a light, romantic story with nothing to challenge your mind too much. And that can be a good thing.
My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.
For another retelling of a classic story, bookbag recommends Hand of Isis by Jo Graham, which tells Egyptian queen Cleopatra's story with a supernatural twist.
You can read more book reviews or buy Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon at Amazon.com.
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