Margrethe is currently living in a convent with nuns, but in truth she is a princess in hiding. Her father is the king of the Northern lands, and there is talk of war brewing with the Southern lands. Lenia is the youngest daughter to the merfolk that live in the sea near the convent. She loves her home in the water, but finds herself constantly longing for more than she has. On her eighteenth birthday, she is permitted to travel to the surface for a quick viewing. While up there, however, she witnesses a terrible storm and a large ship on the brink of sinking forever. In a moment of weakness, she rescues a man from drowning, carrying him instead to land and dropping him at the feet of Margrethe. It is from this act of heroics that these two women from very different worlds find themselves bound together forever.
Mermaid was just about the most perfect re-telling of a classic story I have ever read. It's told in a rather unique adult fairy-tale style of voice, one that you can almost imagine someone else reading aloud to you. I was surprised by how the story was really quite spiritual. There is a lot of talk of souls and the eternal life, but this did not necessarily add or distract from the main plot. Turgeon's writing was so spot on, so gentle, so funny and tragic and hopeful, for these two women finding out the world is not what they were always told it would be. I first fell in love with Carolyn Turgeon's writing in Rain Village, but have not yet read her sophomore book Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story. After reading Mermaid, however, I definitely want to dig into a retelling of Cinderella. If you love mermaid stories, then you will absolutely love this book!
Overall Rating: 5 Stars