The Little Mermaid is one of the most iconic of fairy tales. It is the story of a young mermaid who falls in love with a human prince and gives up her life as a mermaid to be with the prince.
In the new novel, The Mermaid’s Daughter, by Ann Claycomb, Kathleen lost her mother at an early age to suicide. Raised by her widower father, she is presently an opera student with a bright future. In a steady relationship with her girlfriend, Harry, it seems that she has it all. But Kathleen suffers from a medical malady that no doctor has been able to identify or resolve. The only thing that can help Kathleen is sea water, but it’s healing powers are only temporary.
After another stay in the hospital where the doctors are still unable to diagnose or cure Kathleen, Harry convinces her to take a trip back to the family’s ancestral home in Ireland. What they discover is a past and a history that has repeated on Kathleen’s maternal line for generations. The only way to break the curse that has haunted the women in her family is for Kathleen to choose between her lover and the sea. Neither is an easy choice and both require the loss of life in one capacity or another.
What I liked about this book is that the characters felt very alive. I could feel Kathleen’s torment and her need to be in the sea. I also very much appreciated the relationship between Kathleen and Harry. Their relationship was very much a non issue, for both the reader and the characters. Instead of highlighting that the heroine has a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend, the writer chose just to make it a normal romantic relationship. The only issue that I have is that I did not quite get the ending. It felt a little rushed to me.
I recommend it.