Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale
by Carolyn Turgeon Published by Crown Publishing Group
on March 3rd 2011 Pages:
The story of two very different women, one mortal, one mermaid, and the clash between worlds best kept apart... It is a cold day at the end of the world when a young woman, a princess in hiding, looks out across a Northern sea and sees something she could not have seen. It looks...it can't be. It looks like a mermaid's tail. And, as she looks more closely, she sees that the mermaid is dragging a drowning sailor in her arms. Because, only hours before, another princess, the daughter of the sea queen, has decided to risk everything and take a look at the world above the sea: the world of mortals. And there she finds a storm, a shipwreck, a sailor, and sets in train events which will change both women's worlds forever.
The Little Mermaid tale and I have a long history. Growing up, it was my favorite Disney movie. And even knowing the grimmer Hans Christian Anderson tale, did not deter me from loving this fairy tale. I wish the same could be said about Carolyn Turgeon's Mermaid.
At first glance, I thought this twist on the classic tale would be a fun read. Something a little different, but an escape nonetheless. Readers are introduced to two very different princesses. Princess Margrethe longs to stop the fighting between kingdoms, and bring peace to the land. While Princess Lenia longs to explore more than just the vast oceans. And when the both girls fall in love with the same Prince, only heartbreak and misery can await one, if not, both of the Princesses.
While the characters, the plot, and even the writing, for the most part, were well done. Prince Christopher, the unforunate choice for a love interest, completely rubbed me the wrong way. The Princesses Margrethe and Lenia were both strong(ish) female characters until the Prince came around. Once he entered the scene, it was down hill from there. Nothing exasperates me more than women who completely loss all sense of self due to a man. And this is exactly what they do. And the worse part of it all is that I have no absolute clue what they see in this guy.
Carolyn Turgeon's Mermaid is not for the faint of heart. It is dark, sensual, and a novel that I would have a hard time recommending to anyone under the age of at least 17. But that being said, part of me really enjoyed seeing a darker side to the tale. The other half wishes that Turgeon could have done better with the so-called Prince.