Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Book Review - The Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn
Everyone needs a little magic in their lives every once in a while, and a fun new book, "The Mermaid of Brooklyn" by Amy Shearn, supplies that bit of magic by the bucketful.
Jenny Lipkin is worn out... and stressed out. No one in the house is sleeping thanks to new baby Rose, and Jenny’s husband Harry has been working an inordinate amount of late hours thanks to a slowdown in the family candy business that he runs with his brother and mother. One night, Harry calls to say he's stopping for cigarettes on his way home and poof, disappears. Harry's mother is ready to call the police (who inform her that there's nothing they can do unless foul play is suspected) but Jenny suspects her husband could be on a gambling bender - something he's been known to do.
After weeks of not knowing what to do, and with her desperation growing by the minute, Jenny plans to launch herself off the Brooklyn Bridge. Fortunately, at the last minute, she changes her mind. Unfortunately, it's too late, she’s already falling into the freezing water. But Jenny wakes up to find that she has been saved by a rusalka - a mermaid - who helps her to find her way.
However, no good deed ever goes unpunished, and for Jenny there will be a price to pay for the mermaid’s help – she takes up residence in Jenny’s body and makes her appearance at the most inopportune times. But she also gives Jenny courage and strength to do things she would have never dreamed of before. As Jenny grows in character, she becomes the woman she always wanted to be – and then Harry shows up again. Will Jenny accept him back into her and Rose’s life or will the mermaid help her stay strong?
Author Amy Shearn has created a melancholy but funny tale of one woman’s dramatic life changes in "The Mermaid of Brooklyn." Shearn takes an old Slavic folk character, the sensual but scary Rusalka, and gives it a modern twist as a sort of "fairy godmother" for Jenny Lipkin. I loved how the mermaid was fascinated with Jenny’s shoe collection (as a mermaid, she would be!) and how she encourages Jenny to pursue her dreams of becoming a creative seamstress.
Shearn based this story partially on her own great-grandmother – well, all but the part about the mermaid. This is a fun story that will resonate with stay-at-home moms and challenged women everywhere – maybe we all need a mermaid in our lives.
"The Mermaid of Brooklyn" is just one of the great books featured on BookSparks Summer Reading Road Trip! Check out the other great books by clicking on the badge below!
My thanks to BookSparks PR for providing the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.