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Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  3,717 ratings  ·  591 reviews
Princess Margrethe has been hidden away while her kingdom is at war. One gloomy, windswept morning, as she stands in a convent garden overlooking the icy sea, she witnesses a miracle: a glittering mermaid emerging from the waves, a nearly drowned man in her arms. By the time Margrethe reaches the shore, the mermaid has disappeared into the sea. As Margrethe nurses the hand ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Crown Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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The Holy Terror
What could have been a poignant retelling of "The Little Mermaid" turned into a sappy mess with a lot of unfinished ideas. The beginning was gripping and fantastically told, the middle desperately grasped at sensuality and tragedy, while the ending deflated and fell flat. I was left feeling disappointed and cheated by this story.

Even if you're not familiar with the original Hans Christian Andersen tale, you've probably seen Disney's "The Little Mermaid." I thought at first that this would be li
...more
Carolyn
Jan 28, 2011 Carolyn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
I am very close to this author and think this might be the best book ever written.

=)
Mark
Nov 10, 2011 Mark rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who sing in the bath
Recommended to Mark by: a goodreads review I chanced on
This was a book I picked up as a result of browsing though other people's reviews and as I love the stories of Hans Christian Andersen I thought i would give it a go. (Note to self...delete your amazon account or move to a bigger house ). This book arrived yesterday and I read it last night. It took the original story and fleshed it out with back story of the three main characters. Sometimes this engorging with detail can cause adopted stories to flag but here I think it works quite well. The pe ...more
Jessica
Two words come to mind after reading Carolyn Turgeon’s Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale: missed opportunity. Turgeon proved in 2009’s Godmother, a loose retelling of the Cinderella fairytale, that she can craft a well-designed and modern story in the magical realism genre. Mermaid was her chance to address the shortcomings of her previous book, like a tendency to write flat characters or oversimplify a love story. What’s more, Mermaid was an opportunity to modernize a fairy tale for adult re ...more
Bluerose's  Heart
I went through many stages of love/hate while reading Mermaid. It's an awesome example of why you should always finish a book(I don't always, by the way). It took me a couple of chapters to get used to the writing style, but once I did, I found it to be quite lovely(in a gothic sort of way). Then, I got so angry at the middle that I was tempted to stop reading and maybe throw it against the wall. By the end, the story redeemed itself.

If I wasn't halfway familiar with the original version of "The
...more
Patrícia
http://girlinchaiselongue.blogspot.pt...

Em 1848, Hans Christian Andersen dava voz a uma das histórias mais amadas de sempre e em 1989, a Disney transformava-a num dos filmes mais apaixonantes da sua história. Sujeito a várias adaptações de todo o género ao longo do tempo, a história da Pequena Sereia voltou a ganhar vida em 2011 pelas mãos de uma escritora americana, Carolyn Turgeon que conseguiu relembrar o público da história de Andersen e mostrar que este conto pode ser belo mesmo sem músicas
...more
Caroline
Jun 27, 2011 Caroline rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of mermaids and fairy tales
Turgeon's interpretation of the original Little Mermaid is an entertaining, interesting read. At its best, it is intriguing and original, in that it delves not only into the perspective of the mermaid, but her rival, the princess. However, as entertaining as the book can be, and at times, even a little touching, it falls short of being really good with typical pitfalls.

Again, the exploration of Margrethe's--the princess whom the mermaid's beloved prince is supposed to wed--perspective is origina
...more
Amelia
As an avid reader of the classics, it is impressive to find how close this was to Hans Christian Andersen’s tale. Obviously, there are some alterations to this latest “twist,” so don’t be expecting the exact fairy tale. The same gruesome cutting of the tongue for the mermaid’s payment is still there, but that’s an obvious necessity to the plot that could only have been downplayed by Disney (no offense to the movie – I still love the cartoon!).

There are some softer points to Turgeon’s version tha
...more
Brandon Witt
I've been obsessed with The Little Mermaid for as long as I can remember. First, the story by Hans Christian Anderson, then the cartoon based on his story, then Disney's version. I love them all.
When I saw The Mermaid on the shelf in the store, I didn't think twice--I bought it. Then, I was nervous. It would be such and easy thing to mess up the story and give me a bitter taste in my mouth about my favorite story--Like the Broadway musical did (ugh). It was also highly probable that it would si
...more
Brooke
I initially read about this book on "Entertainment Weekly", with the announcement that it was going to be made into a movie. I was immediately intrigued by the fact that it was based much more closely on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale than the *ahem* other mermaid stories out there currently. In other words, there are no talking animal sidekicks or murderous French chefs, and the sea witch actually ISN’T evil.

Lenia is the daughter of the Sea King, and has just turned 18. It’s a mermaid tra
...more
Fairytalecritic
Andersen’s The Little Mermaid is about love and sacrifice. The little mermaid falls in love with a man she cannot have, gives up everything to be with him, and is rejected in favor of a human girl, and as a result dies and is turned to sea foam. It’s a story about sacrificing everything and getting nothing in return, of wishing you could give up everything if only something would turn out your way. Of wanting what you know you cannot have, hoping against all hope. And this is what Turgeon really ...more
Sarah
I am not going to review this on my blog, so I'll jot down some thoughts here.

I got this book from the library and decided to read it for no other reason than it was about mermaids and I haven't read enough books with mermaids in them.

Anyway, Mermaid was a retelling of The Little Mermaid. The writing was good, but not good enough to redeem the awkward plot, two-dimensional characters, uncomfortable dialogue and half-built world. Mermaid, on the whole, is shockingly slow moving for such a short
...more
Amy
Mermaid is told in two different points of view, the view of the Princess and the Mermaid. It opens with Princess Margrethe staring out at the ocean.

‘It was a gloomy, overcast day, like all days were, when the princess first saw them. The two of them, who would change her life. There was nothing to herald their appearance, no collection of birds or arrangement of tea leaves to mark their arrival.’

Margrethe, a human princess, is in a convent to hide from the rivaling kingdom. Lenia, a mermaid pri
...more
Alexa
I picked up this book with fond memories of retold fairytales I'd read in the past and loved. I really hoped this book would fit into that category. It did not.

First of all, there was way too much God in this book. I don't usually have an issue with religion in literature (though I can't say many of the books I read contain much in the way of serious religion), but this felt so forced. The princess was hiding in a convent, the mermaid was moved by the sight of the cross, she wanted to be connect
...more
EZRead eBookstore
As an avid reader of the classics, it is impressive to find how close this was to Hans Christian Andersen’s tale. Obviously, there are some alterations to this latest “twist,” so don’t be expecting the exact fairy tale. The same gruesome cutting of the tongue for the mermaid’s payment is still there, but that’s an obvious necessity to the plot that could only have been downplayed by Disney (no offense to the movie – I still love the cartoon!).

There are some softer points to Turgeon’s version th
...more
Stephanie
Unlike Disney, Turgeon stays relatively close to the original, which let me just say is dark and depressing as all get-out. If you can spare (if that) an hour, read it if you haven't already.

She does, true to promise, deliver a bit of a twist. Not really in the sense that it switches between the princess from the convent and the mermaid, but rather in what happens towards the ending. Taking the land-bound princess's angle was in a sense predictable, since the story was a love-triangle from the
...more
Angie
I'll be honest in saying that when I initially picked up this book it was because I had $20 of a Groupon I had purchased that I had to spend and I wasn't sure what to expect.

The twist on the tale is something I enjoyed, however the characters were very two dimensional with very little development. However, despite that I could relate on some level to the princess who felt she was destined for more and the the mermaid who longed for a world different from her own.

Things you should be aware of pri
...more
Elphaba J
Acho fantástica a capacidade que algumas histórias têm de saltar do nosso imaginário pueril e nos atingirem na maturidade com a mesma intensidade de outrora, de um outrora em que desconhecíamos os desígnios da paixão, de um outrora em que ser-se sereia era um sonho quase tangível de alcançar.

É entre o vento frio das terras altas norte e o murmurar selvagem das ondas do mar que conhecemos as três personagens principais desta história que reavivarão as memórias da nossa infância, não com uma mas,
...more
Johanna
Mermaid
by Carolyn Turgeon

Genre: Paranormal Romance | Fantasy | Historic

Two princesses (one earthbound, one aquatic) vie for the heart of a prince in this new twist on the classic fairy tale.

For 18-year-old mermaid princess Lenia, the world of men could not be a more exotic or fascinating place. Although her experience with humans is limited to the shipwrecks and dead sailors she comes across in her ocean-floor kingdom, she yearns for more. She gets her wish when she is finally permitted to go up
...more
Aimee
I have many fond memories of watching Disney's The Little Mermaid with my daughter when she was little. It was her favorite movie. When I saw this retelling of the mermaid tale I was intrigued and ended up pleasantly surprised. First of all, this was a short, light read. I finished it in two days easy. The story revolves around the mermaid Lenia who longs to be human and falls in love with a prince that she saves in a storm at sea. The other part of this love triange is Margrethe, a princess fro ...more
Kyle
This is an absolutely gorgeous retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale. I couldn't put it down. "The Little Mermaid" is one of those fairy tales that I've always thought could never be retold in a satisfying way because the original is so perfect the way it is. But Carolyn Turgeon has done it and succeeded. The main thrust of her novel is a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the original story, the main twist being her exploration of the character of the rival princess who eventually ...more
Michaela
I really liked this book up to halfway through. Then I was really shocked that the author included some of the stuff she did.
Spoilers Ahead
For example, many (seriously, there were a lot!) sex scenes were included. She didn't go into detail, but it was so completely unnecessary. Following this, of course the mermaid had to get pregnant with the prince's baby, and of course, they couldn't be married. There was just so many sex scenes in this book that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. It could h
...more
Becky Hoffman
I'm noticing a lot of people are getting flaky scales over this whole "it doesn't follow the fairytale" thing, but let me just share three words with you.

Get

Over

It!

Appreciate the story for what it is, a story. In fact I loved this book! I thought it was really awesome to finally get to see the Princesses point of view. Plus this book is filled with such powerful women that I didn't really care so much that we didn't get to see much of the Prince. I mean if you go through the whole book and think
...more
Megan
I was really impressed with this retelling of The Little Mermaid mostly because of the displaced medieval setting and the way in which Carolyn wrote about the two leading ladies. There was something about the land in which the story is set that read differently from a stock medieval time period to me. I loved the defined and explored difference in culture between the North and the South, and the air of fantasy that seemed to encapsulate the whole land because of the underlying ancestral connecti ...more
Chris
Really a 3.5, but I'm rounding up because I liked how in touch with the original Turgeon seemed to be. Though, many of the other reviews are correct; the characters could be fleshed out a little more. Just read below.

This is one of those books that will make neither right or left book challengers/banners happy. It's got both God and sex in it.

It also, and this is the reason why it has God and sex in it, far closer to the original Andersen tale.

Andersen's mermaid tale has always been darker, far
...more
Phanee
Rating: 8/10

Mermaid is - as mentioned on the back cover - a re-invention of The Little Mermaid, a fairy tale that was written in 1837 by Hans Christian Andersen, a Dutch poet and author. So essentially, the plot follows the same path that the original story follows, with some additions here and there, which differentiate the story from the original and make it unique (despite the fact that the same story has been told before).


In this re-telling, we get to see the story unfold from the point of v
...more
Shannon
This version of The Little Mermaid stays much closer to the original Hans Christian Anderson version versus the Disney version. It is definitely not all singsong, rainbows and happy endings! The primary difference here is the author alternates the narrative between the mermaid princess who longs to be human (so she can have a soul and be with the handsome prince she rescued from death) and the princess who nurses the same prince back to health after he is dropped to shore by the mermaid (he is a ...more
Nely
As a big fan of 'Disney's The Little Mermaid' and having read Ms. Turgeon's Godmother a few years back, I knew that I could not go without reading this dark and gothic retelling.

Obviously Hans Christian Andersen's tale of The Little Mermaid is the back bone of this story, but sadly I've never read his version so I can't do any comparisons to his work. What I can tell you is that this is the story of two sheltered princesses. One princess resides on the land while the other lives "under the sea"
...more
Melodie
Okay, if you are familiar with and love the Hans Christian Andersen version or the Disney movie, you may want to skip this one.This is a more adult,darker version of the classic tale.
The story is told in two voices, Princess Margrethe and Lenia the mermaid.Both young women fall for the same handsome prince when he is shipwrecked.Lenia rescues him from certain death,and brings him ashore at the rocky base of a convent. Princess Margrethe finds him and he is brought into the convent,saving his
...more
Ashley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Carolyn Turgeon is the author of five novels: Rain Village (2006), Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story (2009), Mermaid (2011), which is being developed for film by Sony Pictures, the middle-grade The Next Full Moon (2012), and her latest, The Fairest of Them All (2013). She edits Faerie Magazine and teaches fiction writing at the University of Alaska at Anchorage's Low-Residency MFA program.

Vi
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More about Carolyn Turgeon...
Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story The Fairest of Them All Rain Village The Next Full Moon Mermaids, a special issue of Faerie Magazine

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“there are people all over the world who carry the mermaid inside them, that otherworldly beauty and longing and desire that made her reach for heaven when she lived in the darkness of the sea.” 16 likes
“It's a never ending dream for everyone it seems, to find again what was once precious and has been lost.” 12 likes
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