Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mermaid” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.63  ·  Rating details ·  5,767 ratings  ·  834 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 March 1st 2001)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mermaid, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Liz You mean like two-hundred story high golden dildos, or papal boners? No, I don't recall anything of Disney's special brand of subtext.

Though now I th…more
You mean like two-hundred story high golden dildos, or papal boners? No, I don't recall anything of Disney's special brand of subtext.

Though now I think of it, sex does come into play later in the book; I don't think the story went into much graphic detail about it though. (less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,767 ratings  ·  834 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Mermaid
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
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I am very close to this author and think this might be the best book ever written.

Feb 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2011
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
BAM Endlessly Booked
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟for purely sentimental reasons
When I was small there was a Japanese anime version of The Little Mermaid that would occasionally play on tv (channel 41 WDRB) on Sunday afternoon. This became my first exposure to a movie "princess" there was no Disney VHS when I was a child. I fell in love ❤️ with Prince Christopher along with the mermaid in the story. Little did I know that not too much younger than I had been, my daughter would do the same thing with a Prince Eric.
This story is timeless a
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: romantics and mermaid-lovers
Shelves: 2016, e-reader, ya
¨Go and you will see that nothing is as wonderful as our dreams can make it.¨

★★★★: Lovely retelling of Hans Christian Andersen´s The Little Mermaid . I liked this story more than the original story. It´s sweeter and less cruel. At first I didn´t care for the Princess´ POV, I just wanted to read about the mermaid (duh). But later on, the Princess´ POV became also interesting and contributed to the story of the mermaid.

Nov 06, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Mar 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviews, mermaids
[All kinds of spoilers up in here.]
There are two protagonists in this book. The princess is hiding out in a nunnery because of vague threats from the southern country. The mermaid is obsessed with the surface. Both fall in instalove with the prince within a few hours of meeting him, to the point where both are willing to give up everything they have to be with him. This is obnoxious in and of itself, but more so because the two of them didn't really spend any time with him, and the reader hardly
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
Sarah Mac
DNF, pg 50-some -- because I don't want to bother. I don't like the story; I don't like the repetitive, dreamy prose; I don't like the continual burbling about souls; I don't like the mermaid's yearning for patently, blatantly imperfect surface-bound life just to offer a 'fairytale lesson' about the grass being greener & being careful what you wish for.

...So why force myself to finish it? *shrug* Good question. And I'm not gonna. >:P

This is one of those books where you look at your younger self
Tyler J Gray
Sooo a weird supernatural pregnancy and just did I just read? I'm not sure what I expected but I don't think that was it. Also it was too short I think, could have done with more fleshing out. I haven't read the original Hans Little Mermaid though i've just seen the Disney one and that's been awhile. Also wrapped up...too neatly....which is all i'll say for spoilers.

3 stars. It was very readable, I enjoyed a lot of it and it was is a fast read but sadly it just fell flat in too ma
May 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2011, fantasy
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
Amelia M.A.
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Brandon Witt
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
As much as I love retellings, and I do, this one was not for me and this being my second try, I figured I can safely admit I tried.

When I read this, the first time, I thought maybe I had missed some dialogue or scenes but no I didn't as this time I tried the audiobook version and realized that the author actually did write what I read and I was left wanting on both occasions.

The characters felt very one dimensional, especially I think the prince, who is supposed to be the love interest as he's n
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
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
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars, adult, fantasy
I haven't read the original Hans Christian Anderson version of this story, so I'm not sure how closely it relates... but it is much different than the movie. I enjoyed this gothic retelling of the little mermaid. It has darker slightly somber tone which made the story very atmospheric. It’s a book about sacrifice and the lusting of love. I liked that it subtly explored the lesson of falling in love with the IDEA of someone vs falling in love WITH someone. I think there is an aspect of the little ...more
S.K. Munt

*This review contains spoilers*

5 stars as a mermaid story, 3 for reading experience.

Okay This is a TOUGH review to write.As a quick summary, this is a re-telling of The Little Mermaid (the original) but instead of being told from the perspective of the mermaid alone, you get half of the POV from the human princess who is trying to marry the object of the mermaid's affection instead.

In so many ways this book was absolutely mesmerising. I thought that the author's style really suited the era an
Bonnie (A Backwards Story)
One of my favorite fairy tales has always been The Little Mermaid. Mermaids fascinate me; I’ve been writing stories about them since elementary school. With this tale, while I’m obsessed with the sugary Disney version I grew up with, I also love the original story. It’s so sad and tears my heart apart. The mermaid goes through absolute hell in order to be with the man she loves and in the end, it still isn’t enough. Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon deals with the Hans Christian Anderson version of TLM ...more
Jun 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
I'm a sucker for fairytale retellings. I really, really am. Which means I am doomed to read even bad ones, because maybe, just maybe it will be good, or at least have an intriguing spin on an old tale.

The best thing about this book was that it has a beautiful cover. Really, really nice. Also, shiny.

Oh, and the author follows the original Little Mermaid really closely (yay authenticity). Unfortunately, she doesn’t make the characters any smarter/more likeable than in the original.

I didn't like
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
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"
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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
The first half of this was a stronger book than the second half, IMO.

I was very pleased with how in-tune Turgeon was with HCA's Christian themes in the first half - and she managed to incorporate his themes without turning it into an explicitly Christian novel.

But somehow, once Lenia became human, her longing for a soul got lost amongst the love triangle. The love triangle is absolutely necessary for this book - don't misunderstand me - but in the first half it's clear she loves the idea of a so
May 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
EZRead eBookstore
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amelia-reviews
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
Oct 13, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
2.5 stars
The thing that bugs me the most about fairy tales is the insta love and the fact that the characters aren't given much depth.This book was hardly an exception.

We have the human princess who was sent to a convent because of the threat of attack on the North from the South. After the mermaid princess brings the Southern prince to the convent they both fall in love with him. Everything was almost identical to the original The Little Mermaid story except for maybe the ending (view spoiler
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: Mermaid, by Carolyn Turgeon 2 17 May 14, 2016 02:48PM  
Fantasy Romance: BOTM OCT 17 11 Oct 29, 2015 06:03PM  
Más libros para Latinoamérica!! 1 4 Jul 22, 2015 08:43AM  
Who do you think would be suitable actors for the characters in This Book? 4 28 Oct 05, 2012 07:59AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sirena
  • Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood, #1)
  • Anne & Henry
  • Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  • Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of The Little Mermaid
  • Doon (Doon, #1)
  • Goddess of the Sea (Goddess Summoning, #1)
  • Sea Witch Rising (Sea Witch, #2)
  • The Silver Kiss
  • Forgive My Fins (Fins, #1)
  • Destined for Doon (Doon, #2)
  • The Lost Lands: A Magickal History Of Lemuria, Atlantis And Avalon
  • Broken by the Gladiator
  • Spellbound (The Books of Elsewhere, #2)
  • Life's Great Dare: Risking It All for the Abundant Life
  • Dragons: Your Celestial Guardians
  • The Sea of Lost Girls
  • Echo
See similar books…
Carolyn Turgeon is the author of five novels—Rain Village, Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story, Mermaid, The Fairest of Them All, and The Next Full Moon, most of them based on old-time fairy tales, dark and glimmering—and, more recently, The Faerie Handbook, which came out from HarperCollins in November 2017 and might be the loveliest book printed this century. This will be followed by the equa ...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
1 likes · 0 comments
“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.” 26 likes
“Souls were webs of light that contained the essence of a human's life. Memories and loves, children and families. Every moment of life, pressing in” 14 likes
More quotes…