Lenia is the youngest mermaid princess, and she’s always been entranced by all things related to the “upper world”, the world where humans live. Merpeople are only allowed to go to the surface of the sea for one day, on their 18th birthday, and have to be careful not to be seen. But when Lenia’s birthday finally comes, there’s a huge storm and when she gets to the surface of the sea, she’s in the midst of a shipwreck. She sees the humans she’s fantasized about for years dying all around her, but she manages to save just one. She brings him to the shore, and has to leave him in the care of a girl on the beach. But even when she returns to her undersea home, she can’t stop thinking about the man she left behind.
Margrethe is a princess in the North, hiding at a convent by the sea while her country prepares for war with the South. One day as she’s looking out at the cold sea, she sees a glittery mermaid come from the sea, bringing a man to shore. Margrethe is entranced and runs to meet them, but the mermaid has already disappeared, so she focuses on saving the man in front of her. When he awakes, Margrethe realizes who he really is – and sets in motion a plan that will allow her to satisfy her heart and save her kingdom at the same time.
BTW, this is based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. I’ve never read the actual fairy tale, but I looked it up online and this story doesn’t seem to be too different until the ending.
So yes, this book is basically one big love triangle. It SO worked though. The chapters alternate between Lenia and Margrethe, and I loved and sympathized with them both. The man, Christopher, doesn’t really get much story-time until the last 1/4 of the book or so. Lenia desperately wants the chance to experience the human world, and the chance to gain a human soul. Margrethe wants to bring more beauty and happiness into the world, and it only seems possible when she sees the mermaid. Though these women are really at odds for being in love with the same man, they also share a connection. It’s rare for me to want BOTH the girls to win the guy, but I couldn’t pick a side. Both girls were just great. And I loved learning about the mermaid world.
My only real complaint is that I wish it was longer, so that the girls characters could have grown a bit more. They were both throwing themselves headfirst into getting what they desired, and I just wanted to see them enjoy it a little longer.
This is my first novel by Turgeon and I’m very excited to read more by her. I actually only heard of this book because I saw it on some tables at Borders, and the cover caught my eye. I finally rented it from the library, and it’s definitely going to be a book I purchase for myself. The writing was just beautiful. Life under the sea as a mermaid sounded wonderful and magical and exotic. And Margrethe’s time at the convent was filled with feelings of peace and tranquility. Turgeon’s an extremely skilled author, and I think I’m going to start her novel Godmother this weekend.
Sarah Says: 4 stars