The Mermaid by Christina Henry
Thank you to Berkley Pub for my free review copy.
Goodreads Synopsis: From the author of Lost Boy comes a historical fairy tale about a mermaid who leaves the sea for love and later finds herself in P.T. Barnum’s American Museum as the real Fiji mermaid. However, leaving the museum may be harder than leaving the sea ever was.
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 not return.
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
Review: I love a good retelling, and Christina Henry is no amateur. Having only read Alice so far, I was expecting this book to be much darker. This did not, however, take away from the fact that it was an excellent retelling. It had hints of the story of The Little Mermaid that we all know and love, but it was also its own unique story as well. Admittedly, I don’t know much about P. T. Barnum, but after reading The Mermaid, I suddenly have the urge to watch The Greatest Showman so I can learn more. There were also heavier themes as well: discrimination and feminism. Amelia was better at standing up for herself than most women of that time period, which is also important to the story. Christina Henry is a master at taking the fairy tales we grew up on and turning them into something that can be enjoyed again as an adult. I will read any of her retellings. Luckily, I already have Red Queen and Lost Boy waiting for me on my shelves.
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Overall Rating: 4/5