Written by Christina Henry, The Mermaid is NOT a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but is actually a retelling of the Feejee (Fiji) Mermaid that was a P.T. Barnum draw. So, take that idea of The Little Mermaid and throw it out the window now. Right now.
Now that has been taken care of, let’s continue.
This novel follows Amelia as she journeys through life and ends up in the American Museum (by that I mean the “museum” that Barnum ran in the late 1800s). Amelia is a mermaid, and no, she isn’t a beautiful woman with a tale. She is a creature of the sea with fangs and claws. But, she can turn into a human woman. And this is her story.
The writing was wonderful in this novel. Towards the end Amelia came off as very human, which I think made sense as she has been around them for over 40 or 50 years. She has lived as a human. And now she has to interact with humans CONSTANTLY. From Barnum to Levi, his “partner”, to Barnum’s wife Charity and their children.
I hate to type it, but this is a novel that would make a great book club book. There, it has been done. Why? Because some characters change, some stay true, and there is so much that can be discussed and dissected in this book, yet it stands alone beautifully.
If you are looking for a book to read with your young child, this might not be the worst, but do be aware that this isn’t written for children. I would say it isn’t bad for a middle scholar, but there are places in the writing where it is mature.
Who will enjoy this novel? Fans of historical fantasy, those who thought Barnum in the recent movie was portrayed as far nicer and kinder than he actually was, anyone who likes a sweet romance, and a good fight/creepy factor.
Overall, it was an enjoyable, fast read. I would recommend to most anyone.