Monday, November 1, 2010

The Mermaid's Pendant by LeAnn Neal Reilly

The Mermaid's PendantFrom Pump Up Your Book:

Inspired by the beloved classic The Little Mermaid, THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a modern fairy tale about growing up and discovering who you are—and what you believe in. At times lyrical, this novel is a fantastic journey filled with magic, myth, romance, and adventure.
Four years after John Wilkerson claims the mermaid Tamarind for his wife, they have an idyllic marriage that depends on a talisman that she crafted on their island paradise. But Tamarind learns a painful truth: it takes more than legs to live on land and more than magic to sustain a bond. When the talisman breaks, she and John are forced to rely on themselves instead of magic.
Three wise women play key roles in the young lovers’ journey to mature love. Ana, Tamarind’s aging mentor, casts spells and performs seductions to keep the lovers apart. Valerie, an expat jewelry maker cum fairy godmother, works her own magic to bring them together. Lucy, their widowed neighbor, grounds the couple in the realities of marriage, parenting, and family.
THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a story for anyone who has ever believed in the transforming power of love.
The beginning of this book is a retold tale of The Little Mermaid. More the Disney version rather than the Grimm faerie tale. This telling is also set in the present time and John is no prince. In fact, he is flawed as much as any human being. Tamarind falls for John and is determined to be with him no matter the consequences of her decision. Ana, plays the sea witch well and she helps Tamarind transform herself into a human to be with John. Ana's motives are not altruistic  and her true price for Tamarind's transformation is not given voice until Tamarind herself figures it out. However, to get to what Ana truly wants, she must get John out of the way. Ana's manipulations are tireless throughout the book. Luckily for the couple Valerie, a friend to both, also has a bit of magic which brings the couple together. Her magic is felt and seen in the form of a pendant as well as sage advice.

In the second half of this book we learn more of what happens "after" people ride off into the sunset. The mystical part is not gone as Ana still weaves her magic to come between the couple and their child, Sarah, has an outlook to life far beyond her young years. She meets a kind neighbor, Lucy, who has the wisdom of years to draw from. She becomes another rock Tamarind can cling to and find strength. Luckily Ana is unaware of this rock. As time goes by and things in marriage get complicated and misunderstandings abound, the couple's silence of things left unsaid become more powerful than any spell Ana can weave. However, questions still remain. Does Ana take advantage of this problem and win? Can the couple find their way back to each other? Will they learn that even though their beginning was the stuff of fairy tales it still takes work to make a relationship last? Hmm... not telling. You'll have to read the book to find out.

I give this book 4 stars. The beginning was delightful. I enjoyed the retelling of The Little Mermaid. The second half, although very different, did fit with the first half of the book. It read more like a chick lit book as people learn about themselves and each other. My only complaint is John. I would like to see John to have given up more of his lifestyle for Tamarind. I would have liked to have seen him truly grasp the enormity of Tamarind's gift. In ways he certainly does, but some times I wanted to smack his head to make him see. Granted Tamarind didn't tell him, however she wasn't a human long and was used to reading another's mind. I did enjoy that John was flawed and not this mystical prince come to save the day (sometimes that really annoys me), but I still would have like to have seen some sort of thought process that involved his wife more. 


  1. I like re-tellings so I do think I would perhaps reading this one.
    Nice review

  2. Thank you Melissa, for your thoughtful and careful review. It always helps me as an author to get feedback from an astute reader.

  3. The Little Mermaid is one of my favorites - sounds like a fun retelling. Thanks for the review!

  4. @Blodeuedd and Alyssa... I do think you'd enjoy this version of the story.
    @LeAnn... thanks so much for the compliment. That means a lot!

  5. What always troubled me about The Little Mermaid was how much she gave up to be with the prince and how clueless he was. I'm glad this was touched on in this retailing. Great review!

  6. This one is on my wish list. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oooo, you are on a mermaid kick here. :) I like the idea of the Little Mermaid idea in the book. Glad you enjoyed if for the most part. :) Thanks for the interview.

  8. Oooo I can't wait to try this. Awesome review.


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