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Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale Paperback – March 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Original edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307589978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307589972
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Turgeon's surprisingly dark retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, two women pine for the affections of a prince: mermaid Lenia, who pulls Prince Christopher from the sea, and Margrethe, the princess of the rival kingdom, who witnesses the rescue from the convent where she hides from the war raging between their two kingdoms. Lenia, who falls instantly in love with the prince, sacrifices the sea, her voice, and her health to be with him on dry land. Meanwhile, Margrethe believes that marrying the prince would unite their kingdoms, but when she arrives to arrange it, she finds him already enraptured with Lenia. While he remains unaware that the girl he loves is also the mermaid who saved him, Margrethe recognizes her rival immediately and puts into motion a plan to send the ailing mermaid back to the sea and save her own ravaged kingdom. Turgeon has done a superb job of creating compelling characters and conflict from a story already familiar to readers. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

Turgeon refashions Hans Christian Andersen�s beloved classic, The Little Mermaid, into something altogether darker and more foreboding. When two women from two decidedly different worlds fall for the same prince, what else can ensue but heartache and misery? After rescuing a human from the sea, mermaid Princess Lenia falls hard for Prince Christopher, even agreeing to give up her beautiful voice and to endure the constant pain caused by her new legs in order to pursue him on dry land. Meanwhile, Princess Margrethe has also set her sights on the handsome prince in hopes of uniting their two warring kingdoms. With Lenia�s life on the line and war looming on the horizon, the prince�s choice is bound to have catastrophic consequences. More robust than a fractured fairy tale, Turgeon�s brooding retelling gives voice to both women, fleshing out an essentially tragic tale of destiny and desire. Not exactly a cozy bedtime story, but guaranteed to keep you guessing who�if anyone�will live happily ever after. --Margaret Flanagan

More About the Author

Carolyn Turgeon is the author of five novels: Rain Village; Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story; Mermaid, which is currently being developed for film by Sony Pictures; The Next Full Moon, her first children's book; and The Fairest of Them All. She's also the editor of Mermaids, a special issue of Faerie Magazine coming out in December 2013. Visit her online at and read her mermaid blog at

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Bethany Cassel on June 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
I enjoy reading fairytale retellings, and I enjoyed this one when I first started it. However, after the first 50% of the book, when the mermaid first got her legs, I began disliking it tremendously. I'll start at the top.

First, I was intrigued by the author's choice to switch narratives between the mermaid and the princess that SPOILER the prince ends up with in the end of the original fairytale. I was always curious about that princess and was to hear about her. In this story, the princess is Margrethe, and she came across as a spoiled brat who couldn't buckle down and do what needed to be done because she was feeling sorry for herself. There was a glimmer of hope when she felt guilty about the poverty forced on her citizens by her father's lust for war. However, she didn't really pursue that much. Yes, she wanted to end the war, but the book never really addressed how she planned to do that after she married herself off. There were two different messages in regard to Margrethe: 1) that no matter how educated she was she was only a woman and her only true value was marrying herself off and 2) that she was supposedly going to be the mother of some great hero/king (a plot point which, sadly, is never developed). The two messages seem incohesive and are used too much as excuses for the character rather than true motivations.

As far as Lenia (the mermaid) goes, I thought her to be charming at first and her innocently naive ideas about souls were fun to read about. I appreciated the non-Disney peek into her underwater world, though I was annoyed at the persistent references to her naked breasts. Yes, she's a mermaid, I KNOW she's naked, but I did not need it pounded into my head with a hammer.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By a VINE VOICE on February 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I should begin by sharing that I am a fan of all things mermaid related. My home is filled with statues and collectibles, and I have more than one mini-shrine devoted to the Disney adaptation of the classic story. That said, this particular novel took a few chapters to really capture my interest.

Carolyn Turgeon takes Hans Christian Anderson's classic, yet dark, children's story and turns it into a mature adult novel that switches its viewpoint between the mermaid who rescued the prince and the princess whom the prince thought saved him. True to the descriptive title, "A Twist on the Classic Tale," the author changes a few details, some as minor as the age of the mermaid, others as major as the dynamics of the relationship between the prince and mermaid. Yet, in the end, she finds a way for everyone to "live happily ever after." Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ilovewoofy on May 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ok, at first I loved the book, I'd say the first 120 pages or so. I loved being swept into the mermaid's world of an underwater sea palace, hair floating in the water, shimmering hard skin, tail powerfully propelling the mermaid through the depths, the fish the mermaids ate as they swam by, the treasure chests and adventures in sunken boats. I also enjoyed the princesses point of view, I think it was very thought out in the beginning, the colors and scents, the dreary almost gothic picture of the convent on the sea. I could really see how the mermaid and princess initially were head over heels for the prince as well.

Now for the cons:

After the first hundred pages, the story was beginning to feel rushed. The mermaid made a drastic decision to change herself without putting any thought into it. The princess acted spoiled and bratty half the time and noble and wise the other half. This bi polar disorder behavior was beginning to annoy me. I just couldn't like the girl. The mermaid was constant with her behavior, always despairingly hopeful, naive, heartbroken. I won't lie, I felt bad for her and wanted her to end up with the prince throughout the whole book. But then I realized I really didn't want any of them to end up with the prince. He was a shallow selfish @$$ hole who didn't think how his actions would hurt or ruin SPOILER the mermaid. He gets her pregnant then right after his daughter is born, doesn't mind marrying the princess and never seeing the mermaid again.

What I really hated was the last two pages of the book. I think the author had 5 min to write it or something.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Wilson VINE VOICE on March 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Like it was said, a classic tale rewritten, but original enough with this new author's voice so that it is their own. You have the mermaid and her sister's, for starters. On their 18th birthday, for one day, they get to venture to the upper world, where they have been seperated for hundreths of years from the humans, and get to take in all the wonders before returning to carry out the rest of their days below. Of course, Lenia would be far more enchanted with it to let it go quite that easily.

In the upper world, she saved a prince on that very day, taking him to a convent, where a princess is in hiding, Margreth, who Lenia gives him to for rescuing before disappearing back underneath the waves. Margreth helps save the man, enchanted by the mermaid and her touch and look of rapture as she saved the human and gave him to her. Margreth think this man was a gift from the mermaid and as she tends his wounds, the two connect. The triangle has begun, but the plot only begins.

Not long after this we realize who all the characters really are and what twists are at bay for us, and it gets richer and more exciting. The descriptions of the undersea Kingdom are beautiful, making you feel it really might exist, making you wish it would. The rules and ideas of their life, how mermaids live and die, make it wonderful to read about mermaids, making this the most "factual" fictional account of lore I've read! All in all, this world, above and below, was described richly and beautifuly and you'll love to take it all in, over and over again, as I did. And you will love the story and the characters and everything inbetween. There isn't much not to like. Even when you think there will be... but thats all I'll give away!
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