Book Review: The Mermaid’s Pendant

Book Review: The Mermaid’s PendantThe Mermaid's Pendant by LeAnn Neal Reilly
Published by Zephon Books on March 21st 2010
Pages: 586

Inspired by the beloved classic The Little Mermaid, THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a modern fairy tale about growing up and discovering who you are—and what you believe in. At times lyrical, this novel is a fantastic journey filled with magic, myth, romance, and adventure.

Four years after John Wilkerson claims the mermaid Tamarind for his wife, they have an idyllic marriage that depends on a talisman that she crafted on their island paradise. But Tamarind learns a painful truth: it takes more than legs to live on land and more than magic to sustain a bond. When the talisman breaks, she and John are forced to rely on themselves instead of magic.

Three wise women play key roles in the young lovers’ journey to mature love. Ana, Tamarind’s aging mentor, casts spells and performs seductions to keep the lovers apart. Valerie, an ex-pat jewelry maker cum fairy godmother, works her own magic to bring them together. Lucy, their widowed neighbor, grounds the couple in the realities of marriage, parenting, and family.

THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a story for anyone who has ever believed in the transforming power of love.


The Mermaid's Pendant is a fascinating blend of Hans Christian Andersen's classic The Little Mermaid and what "happy ever after" looks like after the characters have their sugary sweet ending. While many of The Little Mermaid's retelling occur somewhere in the not too distant past, The Mermaid's Pendant is clearly set in the present, and it works. The retelling is pretty spot on… the characters are plenty flawed… and there is more than enough to please fairy tale lovers of most ages.

The novel is basically set into two parts: the build up of the romance and the after. The beginning of the novel is pure magic. A not so much prince charming needing to find his happily ever after meets the (mer)maid of his dreams. If you have ever seen Disney's version of this lovely tale, then there is not too much that you will not already be familiar with.

For me, the really interesting aspect of the novel lies in the second half. It gets to the heart of the relationship. Showing the ups and downs that many couples will face at one time or another in their relationship. Neal Reilly is at times brutally honest in her portrayal of John and Tamarind's relationship. They are by no means the perfect couple. And those flaws that come out only helped me love them more.

Neal Reilly takes her time to develop this tale, and it shows with the novel sitting at a pretty hefty 586 pages. And thankfully, for the most part, the novel reads like a much shorter novel. Neal Reilly's imagination and creativity shine in this beautiful retelling. And I cannot wait to see what is next for her.

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6 responses to “Book Review: The Mermaid’s Pendant

  1. Kate, Thanks for the insightful review. I’m glad you loved John and Tamarind. I had a hard time with John at first — but even for all his flaws, I learned to accept him. Tamarind I always loved and wanted to protect. I’m glad she learned to stand up for herself.

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