This review contains spoilers.
“The ocean has a rhythm, but it has no heart.”
Published: 2018, by Titan Publishing Group.
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Mermaids, Fiction, Adult
Contains: Death, Violence, Blood/Gore
‘The Mermaid’ tells the story of Amelia, a widowed mermaid, who ventures out to New York and becomes a top attraction at P.T. Barnum’s museum. Trapped within her performance contract with the man, Amelia battles fame, love and her desire to return to the sea; all of which inevitably come crashing down around her.
Prior to this, I had read two out of the four novels by Christina Henry, both of which I fell in love with instantly. So, I had extremely high expectations with this novel and thankfully, I was not disappointed.
After the hype of The Greatest Showman, I’ve become a little more acquainted with the history of P.T. Barnum, already disliking his character and ‘charm’ and I was so glad to see him come alive as an antagonist within this novel. P.T. Barnum’s character in ‘The Mermaid’ is much like a child having a tantrum, accustomed to getting his own way for the majority and manipulating as many people as possible to achieve it. However, when Amelia joins the company, his world turns upside down. Amelia’s character is wonderful; she’s innocent to the human world, meaning she hardly understands the way their minds work, and has no patience with Barnum’s behaviour. Her determination to go against the contract and societies views on women was brilliant to read, creating a protagonist who I could relate and route for while reading. The relationship between her and Levi was beautiful, exploring the struggles of loving a mermaid in such a way that made it understandable and almost believable. Henry includes the physical boundaries, the fact that eventually Amelia would need the ocean back in her life and Levi’s own history of living within New York City. These realistic problems that may occur within such a relationship made this novel such a great intrusive fantasy, exploring the world of the fantastic entering reality and the issues that may occur when they combine. Plus, Levi’s constant strength to rise above a man like Barnum, when we saw him simply submit at the beginning of the novel, made for brilliant character development. His love for Amelia shined through the pages.
The writing itself was classic Christina Henry, fast-paced, simple and immersive. The descriptions were blunt yet detailed, making the story easy to follow along, while the dialogue was realistic and believable enough to hear yourself; Every word written counted.
Overall, I loved this story. The protagonists were brilliant to follow along with, while the antagonist made you hate the historical figure a little more. I can’t wait for future works by Henry.