Title: The Mermaid
Author: Christina Henry
Publish Date: June 19, 2018 (Today!)
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Once there was a mermaid
who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a
fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn't bear to keep her. But his
eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she
evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid,
Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for
ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did
P. T. Barnum was looking for marvelous attractions
for his American Museum, and he'd heard a rumor of a mermaid who lived
on a cliff by the sea. He wanted to make his fortune, and an attraction
like Amelia was just the ticket.
Amelia agreed to play the
mermaid for Barnum, and she believes she can leave any time she likes.
But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life, and
he's determined to hold on to his mermaid."
My Two Cents:
Once upon a time, a mermaid left the sea behind to become a woman. She fell in love with a human and as he grew older, she stayed forever the same age. Eventually he passed away and Amelia the mermaid had to find a new life. Enter P.T. Barnum, circus master and master manipulator, who promises Amelia a living in exchange for dignity. Will Amelia ever be able to get back to making it on her own?
What initially drew me to this book was P.T. Barnum. He's the kind of guy that you love to hate. Exploitative, conniving, lying - there isn't much to recommend him! This book definitely shows that. He's pretty terrible to Amelia but I loved how Amelia is able to give it right back to him, often times without even saying a word. We get an inside perspective of how driven-at-any-cost P.T. Barnum is and while he isn't a great person, he's a fascinating one to read about.
And then the mermaids! We are obsessed with mermaids in my house and even as an adult, I still love the idea of mermaids. I loved how Amelia wasn't portrayed as simply a half woman, half fish but something more fantastical. I loved how the author put a lot of the legends of mermaids into this book. This is a great book for those that love some fantasy with their historical fiction!
Oh, and I have to mention the love story between Amelia and Levi, P.T. Barnum's (much nicer, much kinder) right hand man. At first, it seems like perhaps Amelia is drawn to Levi because he can protect her from P.T. Barnum's worse ideas but it becomes clear that they really love each other. This eventually results in one of the happiest endings that I have read in a long time!