I’m somewhat of a picky reader. Few novels can hook me on the first paragraph.
I’m not looking for cliffhangers or prophecies. What I hope for in a book’s opening is beauty—beautiful words, imagery, the taste of a delicious story.
THE MERMAID by Christina Henry — initially I saw the beautiful cover, I admit.
Many books have pretty covers; I lifted it to see what was underneath.
THE MERMAID has a sort of opening that I adore! Its words weave a tale perhaps not uncommon, though this is not a bad thing.
The first page promises a love story, a love-that-transcends-worlds story. Many such tales exist; it is by the storyteller’s skill that they stand out.
Our mermaid, Amelia, has wanted more from life since she was young.
She wasn’t satisfied to live under the sea. She wanted to know about ships and the men who traveled on them. During one of her ventures, she found love in the form of freedom—perhaps one of the most powerful loves.
Even above ground, mermaids live longer than humans. On the death of her husband, Amelia wore well the role a widow. With time she was accepted by neighbors as a solitary woman. She was called a witch; many rumors came to light.
Why did she not age? Why were there no children? Years passed in this manner.
One day, her routine was broken by a man named Levi. Sent on behalf of a showman and owner of a museum, Levi has heard rumors of a mermaid. Their show would benefit from a mermaid; he has come in the hopes that she might work for them.
Initially, Amelia resisted—but after Levi’s departure, the truth sank in: Her husband was dead. He was not coming back. Why should she spend more time alone in a house full of memories?
She wished to see the world. Was that not the reason why she left the ocean?
It’s a treat to see Amelia’s personality develop. She proves herself a strong woman and mermaid when dealing with the museum owner, grappling with cultural differences, and learning to continue life without her husband.
She might perhaps find love again. First she must meet a man with a heart good enough to merit a chance.
Amelia is a remarkable mermaid, a character I grew to like. She is bold in my memory as one of my favorites.
The book’s ending seemed a bit rushed for my taste, but I was enchanted enough by the opening that it did not disrupt the reading much.
THE MERMAID is a novel for those who enjoy love stories, complex characters, and tales of courage. It is a quick read, ideal for a rainy day or chilly autumn evening.
I’m glad that I opened the book to be enchanted by that first paragraph.