Poorly Written,

7 reviews

Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale
by Carolyn Turgeon

Published: 2011-03-01
Paperback : 256 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 7 members
Two sheltered princesses, one wounded warrior; who will live happily ever after?
Princess Margrethe has been hidden away while her kingdom is at war. One gloomy, windswept morning as she stands in a convent garden overlooking the icy sea, she witnesses a miracle: a glittering mermaid ...
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Two sheltered princesses, one wounded warrior; who will live happily ever after?
Princess Margrethe has been hidden away while her kingdom is at war. One gloomy, windswept morning as she stands in a convent garden overlooking the icy sea, she witnesses a miracle: a glittering mermaid emerging from the waves, a nearly drowned man in her arms. By the time Margrethe reaches the shore, the mermaid has disappeared into the sea. As Margrethe nurses the handsome stranger back to health, she learns that not only is he a prince, he is also the son of her father's greatest rival. Sure that the mermaid brought this man to her for a reason, Margrethe devises a plan to bring peace to her kingdom.
Meanwhile, the mermaid princess Lenia longs to return to the human man she carried to safety. She is willing to trade her home, her voice, and even her health for legs and the chance to win his heart?.  

A surprising take on the classic tale, Mermaid is the story of two women with everything to lose. Beautifully written and compulsively readable, it will make you think twice about the fairytale you heard as a child, keeping you in suspense until the very last page.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


The Princess

It was a gloomy, overcast day, like all days were, when the princess first saw them. The two of them, who would change her life. There was nothing to herald their appearance, no collection of birds or arrangement of tea leaves to mark their arrival. If anything, the convent was more quiet than usual. The nuns had just finished the midmorning service and scattered to their cells for private prayer. The abbess was shut in her chamber. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

1. Mermaid is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. Have you read the story? Have you seen the Disney film? What are some of the differences and similarities between the other versions and this one?

2. What do you think of retellings of fairy tales? How do you account for their popularity? Do you think there’s any special power in taking a known story and envisioning it in a new way?

3. How would you describe the mermaid world in this book? Is this an attractive world to you? How does it compare to the human world in the book?

4. What does Lenia find so compelling about the human world? Does she have an accurate view of it?

5. Think about Lenia’s choice to return to the sea witch and trade her voice for legs. What you ever make such a sacrifice—for love, for salvation, or any other reason? Why or why not? Talk about the theme of sacrifice in the book generally. Who is making sacrifices and for what purposes?

6. Compare Lenia and Margrethe. What do they have in common, and how are they different? What do you think about the relationship that develops between them?

7. How would you characterize Margrethe and the choices she makes? Does she change throughout the book?

8. If you could switch places with Lenia or Margrethe, whose life and world would you rather inhabit for a day, and why?

9. Describe Prince Christopher’s relationships with Lenia and Margrethe. Does he behave honorably toward them both? What do you think of him?

10. Mermaids are an incredibly popular subject in many cultures. What do you think accounts for their appeal? What makes mermaids such a rich subject for the imagination? Can you think of other books in which mermaids play an important role?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub


“Absorbing, poignant, and heartbreaking…Readers who love fairy tale retellings will find this fresh take difficult to put down.”—Library Journal

“More robust than a fractured fairy tale, Turgeon’s brooding retelling gives voice to both women, fleshing out an essentially tragic tale of destiny and desire…Guaranteed to keep you guessing who – if anyone – will live happily ever after.”--Booklist

“Turgeon has done a superb job of creating compelling characters and conflict from a story already familiar to readers.”—Publishers Weekly

“A gothic love triangle with two equally matched heroines. This isn’t kid’s stuff.”—Kirkus Reviews

"Vividly imagined and skillfully told, Mermaid is a dark tale that shimmers with light."--Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times bestselling author of The Day the Falls Stood Still

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Mermaid"by Christine C. (see profile) 10/03/12

This book was not well written, and at times just plain bizarre.

  "Mermaid: A Twist on a Classic Tale"by Rachelle&Kathy G. (see profile) 06/23/11

I didn't hate this book, but it was only okay. I think it may be more interesting for a YA audience rather than an adult one.

  "Didn't care for it!"by Heather B. (see profile) 05/27/11

Started off slow, doesn't get too much into the characters enough to care about them, and speeds up to finish just when it's getting good!

  "Mermaid A Twist On This Classic Tale"by Diana T. (see profile) 05/27/11

The book started slow, then a few items captured my attention, when the King came to the convent, then that was it.

  "Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale"by Lynne A. (see profile) 05/26/11

I was very dissapointed in this book. I did not find the the writing to be of superior quality, and the characters were not developed in a way that made me connect to them or really care about them.... (read more)

  "A fun story!"by Laurel H. (see profile) 05/04/11

This was a beautifully fun story of romance, friendship, loyalty, and honor. Not a heavy topic, but does involve strong emotions, and diffucult personal decisions. Very good for conversations. I Love... (read more)

  "Fascintaing"by MJ R. (see profile) 03/28/11

This is a wonderful novel with a lot to think about - magical and curious - it will start conversations.

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