‘Mermaid’ puts twist on classic tale

In "Mermaid," two princesses from two very different worlds find themselves vying for the same handsome prince’s affections, and in doing so, their lives are forever interconnected.

In Carolyn Turgeon’s latest book, she takes on the daunting task of retelling the beloved Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of “The Little Mermaid.” And she handles the undertaking with grace, presenting a tale filled with well-written prose and the slightest touch of magic — just the ingredients necessary for a good love story.

The lovely Margrethe is living in an isolated convent, shut away from everything and everyone she loves. Thought to be a simple novice, she’s actually a princess in hiding. Her father is the king of the Northern lands, and there is talk of war brewing with the Southern lands, so he has hidden his only child away from the danger.

Little did he realize danger was closer than he ever dreamed it would be.

Lenia is the youngest daughter to the Sea Queen, a mermaid who lives in the sea near the convent. She loves her family and her home under the sea, but finds herself constantly longing for more than she has. On her 18th birthday, she is permitted to travel to the surface for a quick viewing.

While up above, Lenia is caught in a terrible storm and sees a large ship on the brink of sinking. In a moment of weakness, she rescues a man from drowning, carrying him instead to land and dropping him at the feet of Margrethe.

It is this act of unselfish heroism that will ultimately bind these two women from very different worlds. Both girls fall in love with the handsome Prince Christian, son of the Southern King. While Margrethe makes plans to bring peace to her country by uniting the two families together, Lenia makes the unimaginable sacrifice to gain her heart’s desire — she gives up her beautiful voice, and her way of life, to be able to spend the rest of her days as a human girl — a decision that will bring her to the heights of love and the depths of despair.

Turgeon stays faithful to the original story of the young mermaid who gives up everything for love in this beautiful fable, but she also adds her own twist to the tale, bringing in an element of sensuality and eroticism that make this version very much an adult story.

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