Title: The Mermaid’s Daughter
Author: Ann Claycomb
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: ARC received from the publisher
A modern-day expansion of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, this unforgettable debut novel weaves a spellbinding tale of magic and the power of love as a descendent of the original mermaid fights the terrible price of saving herself from a curse that has affected generations of women in her family.
Kathleen has always been dramatic. She suffers from the bizarre malady of experiencing stabbing pain in her feet. On her sixteenth birthday, she woke screaming from the sensation that her tongue had been cut out.
No doctor can find a medical explanation for her pain, and even the most powerful drugs have proven useless. Only the touch of seawater can ease her pain, and just temporarily at that.
Haunting and lyrical, The Mermaid’s Daughter asks – how far we will go for those we love? And can the transformative power of music overcome a magic that has prevailed for generations? (Goodreads)
Have you ever wondered if fairy tales might be true? Or at least based on the truth, even if they were embellished in the telling? That’s the fascinating premise of The Mermaid’s Daughter.
We meet Kathleen, a gifted singer suffering from stabbing pain in both feet and the horrible sensation of a severed tongue. Delusion? Or the result of a family curse?
Kathleen, her father Robin, and her girlfriend Harry take turns narrating the story. Each chapter is clearly labeled so there’s no confusion over whose POV we’re reading. There’s also an unnamed narrator, the originator of the curse, acting as sort of a Greek Chorus while filling in the blanks.
Kathleen and Harry are music students, studying opera. Both gifted singers, Kathleen is the more talented of the two. In fact, she’s made out to be something special. Opera also plays an important role in the story, but it was easy enough for a non-fan to follow.
While Kathleen was the main focus of the story, I never really warmed up to her for some reason and preferred Harry and Robin. I also liked Tae, Robin’s girlfriend.
I felt like Kathleen was supposed to be a sympathetic character because of the curse, but thought she was a little too much of a drama queen. Sounds terrible because yeah, she was in constant pain, but I was more annoyed than sympathetic towards her.
The overall story was interesting and I really enjoyed the history provided by the curse originators, aka the Sea Witches.
The author is an incredibly talented writer with lovely, description passages that may take your breath away. And what an ending! Well worth reading!
There’s also a short story at the end of the book, detailing how the original Little Mermaid and Hans Christian Anderson met. A nice touch!