• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (March 7, 2017)
A modern-day expansion of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, this unforgettable debut novel weaves a spellbinding tale of magic and the power of love as a descendent of the original mermaid fights the terrible price of saving herself from a curse that has affected generations of women in her family.
Kathleen has always been dramatic. She suffers from the bizarre malady of experiencing stabbing pain in her feet. On her sixteenth birthday, she woke screaming from the sensation that her tongue had been cut out. No doctor can find a medical explanation for her pain, and even the most powerful drugs have proven useless. Only the touch of seawater can ease her pain, and just temporarily at that.
Now Kathleen is a twenty-five-year-old opera student in Boston and shows immense promise as a soprano. Her girlfriend Harry, a mezzo in the same program, worries endlessly about Kathleen’s phantom pain and obsession with the sea. Kathleen’s mother and grandmother both committed suicide as young women, and Harry worries they suffered from the same symptoms. When Kathleen suffers yet another dangerous breakdown, Harry convinces Kathleen to visit her hometown in Ireland to learn more about her family history.
In Ireland, they discover that the mystery—and the tragedy—of Kathleen’s family history is far older and stranger than they could have imagined. Kathleen’s fate seems sealed, and the only way out is a terrible choice between a mermaid’s two sirens—the sea, and her lover. But both choices mean death…
Haunting and lyrical, The Mermaid’s Daughter asks—how far we will go for those we love? And can the transformative power of music overcome a magic that has prevailed for generations?
Happy Monday!! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I was actually laid up in bed for most of it, sick. Luckily I had my dog and a great book to keep me company!
Over the weekend I read The Mermaids Daughter by Ann Claycomb. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through TLC Book Tours.
This book tells the story of Kathleen who has been plagued by a phantom pain in her feet and her tongue since she was little. Her mother suffered from this as well, but killed herself when Kathleen was still little. Kathleen, now an adult and an opera singer, struggles with this and travels with her partner to the country of her ancestry to find out more about herself and this issue that she is having. It is the story of multiple generations of women suffering with this curse because of the decision of one woman. It is based off the Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid tale.
In this story our main character is in a relationship with Harry, a woman she met in a vocal course in college. I love their relationship dynamic and the way in which they care for each other. Harry knows about the pain Kathleen endures, she plays the dual roles of lover and caretaker for Kathleen and sort of begins the quest to find out more about Kathleen’s situation. I enjoyed the chapters we got from her perspective and seeing Kathleen and what she goes through, through her eyes. I enjoyed pretty much all of the characters in this story and I was especially intrigued by ALL of the perspectives the story is delivered from.
I loved this book immediately and could not put it down. I love dark retellings and this was definitely dark. It was dark, atmospheric, musical, and beautifully written. I felt like I was there. Kathleen’s suffering was palpable, I could almost feel it myself. Exactly how I would imagine it in our world. This was a great blend of genre – contemporary with fantasy. The writing was gorgeous and it seemed like every sentence was evocative of the sea.
This was an excellent debut and I cannot wait to see what else this author has in store for us. Whatever it is, I will be eagerly anticipating it.
I highly recommend to everyone but especially to readers that love retellings, especially darker ones. Five stars!
About Ann Claycomb
Ann Claycomb’s fiction has been published in American Short Fiction, Zahir, Fiction Weekly, Brevity, Hot Metal Bridge, The Evansville Review, Title Goes Here, and other publications. She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has an MFA in fiction from West Virginia University