Book Review: The Mermaid by Christina Henry

The Mermaid
Title: The Mermaid
Author: Christina Henry
Release Date: June 19th, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 336
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Fiction - Magical Realism

From the author of Lost Boy comes a historical fairy tale about a mermaid who leaves the sea for love and later finds herself in P.T. Barnum's American Museum as the real Fiji mermaid. However, leaving the museum may be harder than leaving the sea ever was.

Once there was a mermaid who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn't bear to keep her. But his eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid, Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did not return.

P. T. Barnum was looking for marvelous attractions for his American Museum, and he'd heard a rumor of a mermaid who lived on a cliff by the sea. He wanted to make his fortune, and an attraction like Amelia was just the ticket.

Amelia agreed to play the mermaid for Barnum, and she believes she can leave any time she likes. But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life, and he's determined to hold on to his mermaid.

This book really took my by surprise, in a good way. I wasn't sure where the story was going to go after reading the synopsis, would it be light-hearted or go dark? It turns out it was done just the right way.

We begin the story learning about a mermaid, named Amelia, and how her life among humans begins. I loved getting to know Amelia and the way that Christina Henry created such a depth to her characters in what seems like a small number of pages. This was more so a character driven novel and I loved every bit of learning about each of the characters. This is one of those stories that you can't stop reading because you care so much about the characters. I had to know what they were feeling next, what their next decision was going to be. 

The setting was another favorite part for me. I was fascinated reading about upper Maine and also Barnum's museum. The historical setting pairing with some magical realism had me hooked immediately. I really loved how Christina Henry made a mermaid story her own in a way that felt authentic and unique. The story felt consistent, there weren't any parts that felt boring or dragged on. It was a steady stream of wonderful character development and captivating story-telling. Though the romance wasn't a huge part, I loved that as well. 

If you're looking for a unique mermaid story that has wonderful character development, a fascinating setting and a tale that will hook you in - then this is the book for you. 

Happy Reading from me to you!


  1. Sounds pretty good, I like that it sounds like an historical fiction w/ magical realism, rather than just straight up fantasy or whatever. I saw another review for this one and it was positive as well. Glad it was good!


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