The Mermaid

The Mermaid

Book - 2018
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Once there was a mermaid called Amelia who could never be content in the sea, a mermaid who longed to know all the world and all its wonders, and so she came to live on land. Once there was a man called P. T. Barnum, a man who longed to make his fortune by selling the wondrous and miraculous, and there is nothing more miraculous than a real mermaid. Amelia agrees to play the mermaid for Barnum and walk among men in their world, believing she can leave anytime she likes. But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life.
Publisher: New York :, Berkley,, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780399584046
Branch Call Number: F Henry
Characteristics: 318 pages ;,18 cm


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Sep 16, 2018

I loved this book. The era, the being torn between land and sea, the lyrical narrative. Maybe it's because I grew up by the ocean; the atmospheric setting had me from the beginning. I will read Henry's other books as I enjoyed this one so much. She made the magical possible and Amelia relatable, even being a mermaid. It's refreshing to read something mythical without it being so fantastically overdone that it feels implausible.

Sep 06, 2018

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy fantasy and historical fiction, this definitely has more of a historical fiction feel than a fantasy one. Especially anything to do with circus-y plots.

A young mermaid longs to know what is on land, to explore the forbidden world above the surface. When she is caught in a fisherman's net, he lets her go, but she sees the sadness in his eyes. She goes back to him willingly and becomes his wife. Their life together is a happy one, however, she doesn't age. When the fisherman dies an associate of P.T. Barnum shows up to persuade her to join his show. She refuses, but later decides that she would like to make money to see the world. She travels to New York where Barnum's show, critics, and zealots await her.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this one, but this book started a little bit slow for me. I really liked the story of the mermaid, Amelia, with the fisherman, but it was so short! I wanted to know more about their relationship and her thoughts about life on land. When the plot moved on to Barnum's piece of the story, the book remained at a fairly slow pace until about half way through when things picked up a little bit. The ending was very quick, and while I liked it, it felt a little bit fast to me. Overall I enjoyed the look at a possible circus-like set up, the humanity of humans and mermaids, and critiques on religion, marriage, gender roles, and animal captivity. I did find myself wishing for a bit more description and explanation of relationships and feelings. It would have been interesting to see a bit more of Amelia and Jack's relationship to understand her feelings later in the book, for example. It also would have been interesting to have a look into other circus personalities as well, but I can see why that was avoided to put the emphasis on the friendship between Amelia and Charity Barnum. Overall I recommend if it sounds like your cup of tea.

FW_librarian Aug 16, 2018

Fun and fast read that leaves you thinking that this 19th century story, because of the curiosity-trending public at that time, could almost be plausible and, wouldn't it be wonderful if it was true.


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