Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
ARC, Paperback, 256 pages
March 1, 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale Revisited
Source: Received through Amazon Vine Program for Review
“Two sheltered princesses, one wounded warrior; who will live happily ever after?
Princess Margrethe has been hidden away while her kingdom is at war. One gloomy, windswept morning as she stands in a convent garden overlooking the icy sea, she witnesses a miracle: a glittering mermaid emerging from the waves, a nearly drowned man in her arms. By the time Margrethe reaches the shore, the mermaid has disappeared into the sea. As Margrethe nurses the handsome stranger back to health, she learns that not only is he a prince, he is also the son of her father's greatest rival. Sure that the mermaid brought this man to her for a reason, Margrethe devises a plan to bring peace to her kingdom.
Meanwhile, the mermaid princess Lenia longs to return to the human man she carried to safety. She is willing to trade her home, her voice, and even her health for legs and the chance to win his heart….Prior to reading Turgeon’s take on the classic tale The Little Mermaid by Hans Christen Andersen, the only knowledge I had of this story was the Disney movie version. I assumed that the tale was probably a little different but didn’t know to what extent. What you get in Turgeon’s novel is very similar to the classic tale (less like the Disney movie) and a great fleshing out of the characters and backstory.
A surprising take on the classic tale, Mermaid is the story of two women with everything to lose. Beautifully written and compulsively readable, it will make you think twice about the fairytale you heard as a child, keeping you in suspense until the very last page.”
Mermaid is told from the dual perspectives of Princess Margrethe and Mermaid Princess Lenia. Each chapter alternates between narrators but continues the flow of the story – it never feels choppy. Turgeon writing style will compel you forward at a frantic pace at times but at other times slow you down to simply enjoy the surroundings. In this way she is able to place you right into the emotions of both of the main characters and truly see things from their perspectives.
I was very happy with the ending of this story. I found myself rooting for one character over another and I was hoping that the ending would turn out to support that character. Turgeon does a very good job of making you think you know how it will end, but there is certainly a curveball thrown in there for good measure. I enjoyed this ending much more than the original ending of the fairy tale because it is more rewarding for the reader who has just spent 240ish pages making a connection with these characters – versus the 10 or so of the fairy tale.
The only real negative that I found in this story was the characterization of Prince Christopher. While the two girls and other periphery characters are fleshed out and given some motivation, I felt like Christopher was lacking. He is given very little backstory and his motivations for his emotions and reactions are not wholly supported. It was a little difficult to really feel like he was the handsome prince that everyone was in love with – a little two dimensional. If he had been given more to work with I think it would have been that much better.
Carolyn Turgeon has also written another fairy tale revisited – Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story. You can visit Turgeon’s website for additional information about her books. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this book excerpt:
4 out of 5 stars.
Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court