Hello, dear readers! Today’s review is on The Mermaid by Christina Henry, a book that surprised me immensely with its tone and characters.
The tone and style of The Mermaid were shocking. I felt like I was reading a book written in the early to mid-1800s, especially when Amelia was present in the scene. It made Amelia feel old and young at the same time, just as it described her to appear. It reminded me of reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, where the protagonist is a woman entering a strange and unknown to her world with a clear purpose to affect the new world. I loved Jane Eyre, and I enjoyed that The Mermaid carried the same whimsical tone.
I’ll admit that I’m not familiar with P. T. Barnum as a person, but I don’t believe that affected my opinion of the characterization of him that was presented in this novel. I think his character rubbed me the wrong way (as it was supposed to) and I was very interested to see how his character would help Amelia on her journey into the human world of money and exploitation.
Our introduction to Amelia begins with the wondrous and complex thoughts of a true mermaid. It felt right that the beginning of the story was told through her thoughts rather than dialogue. I found it difficult to characterize her in the beginning, but once I saw her in opposition to the rest of the characters, once I reached New York I could tell who she was. Amelia is quiet but had independence and initiative that wasn’t welcome for a woman to have in this time. The most interesting thing about her was that she didn’t see a problem being naked (she had to be to change back and forth from mermaid to human). It made everyone seem overly cautious and ridiculous whenever she was changing. I enjoyed all the characters feeling uncomfortable while Amelia was so comfortable in her own skin.
The Mermaid is the perfect read for lovers of circus-centred novels and adults who fell in love with The Little Mermaid as a child. Amelia’s craving for adventure matched with Ariel’s fascination with the human world, but Amelia brought so much more to the table. She is strong and competent in the human world, whereas Ariel is mostly lost. Plus, Amelia has her voice and uses it efficiently. I loved this book and look forward to reading more by Christina Henry in the future. Thank you for tuning in to this latest review! Happy reading!
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