Book Review | Mermaid
Author: Carolyn Turgeon
Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon was a highly anticipated read that did not disappoint. I have been fascinated by mermaids since I was a small child, and remember begging my mother to read me Hans Christian Anderson’s timeless tale, The Little Mermaid. Though I don’t remember this myself, I cried when the last page was read and the mermaid turned into sea foam.
Mermaid is inspired by Anderson’s fairy tale, and fully fleshes out the three main characters of the original story. In Turgeon’s retelling, the mermaid princess Lenia goes to the surface of the ocean on her 18th birthday for the very first time. At the surface, she encounters a shipwreck and watches the sailors dying. She saves a man, not knowing he is the prince of the southern kingdom, and brings him ashore.
Princess Margrethe of the northern kingdom is in hiding as a nun, and is walking along the shore when the mermaid brings the prince to the land. The mermaid beckons to Margrethe, entrusting him into her care. Both Lenia and Margrethe fall in love with him, however. Lenia makes a bargain with the sea witch, and Margrethe devises a plan to bring peace to their kingdoms by marrying prince Christopher. But who does the prince truly love?
I was mesmerized by Turgeon’s vivid detail of what life would be like for mermaids: where they live, what they eat, their longevity, and how merbabies are born. She subtly works these details into the narrative and I just couldn’t get enough of them.
Christopher, Lenia, and Margrethe are beautifully written. I’ve always been more sympathetic to the mermaid in the original tale than to the wife of the prince, but Turgeon’s Margrethe is astounding. Not only does she love Christopher, but she loves Lenia as well. I had absolutely no idea how Mermaid would end, but I loved it. I read the entire book in one day, and I’m regretting that I didn’t take my time with it. I just may have to re-read this again soon.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading thisnovel.*