One of my greatest, most consuming fears is a heart-stopping terror of deep water.
I’m not quite sure where this came from, as when I was younger I adored the sea. Many a holiday I spent hardly changing out of my bathing clothes, splashing around without a second thought pretending to be an extra in The Little Mermaid – I’m sure you can imagine exactly how that went down. Despite my lack of fins, I adored everything to do with Ariel and her underwater world, and would watch the film and its numerous sequels over and over again, dreaming of one day getting to explore all of the weird and wonderful things hiding on the ocean bed.
But then one day, my love of the sea just stopped. Not my love of The Little Mermaid, obviously, as I’m sure that’ll still be with me until I’m old and grey, but my love of swimming, of being in the water. And once my fear had taken hold, it just grew, bigger and darker until the thought of it made me want to pass out. I can’t say I’m particularly fond of boat rides, or aquariums, and I’m certainly not willing to venture any further than being able to touch the sand with my feet, but despite my fear there’s one thing about the ocean that I’ve always loved – mermaids.
I love mermaids. The cute, Ariel-type ones and the evil scary ones, even the lure-men-to-their-death ones. Mermaids are amazing, and I defy you to disagree with me on that one. There are quite a number of books featuring mermaids that I’d like to read, ranging from children’s fiction to YA romance to adult historical fiction and even mermaid mythology, so I thought I’d share them with you, on the off-chance that I’m not the only grown adult still harbouring an obsession with mermaids – it can’t just be me, right?!
Rollrock island is a lonely rock of gulls and waves, blunt fishermen and their homely wives. Life is hard for the families who must wring a poor living from the stormy seas. But Rollrock is also a place of magic – the scary, salty-real sort of magic that changes lives forever. Down on the windswept beach, where the seals lie in herds, the outcast sea witch Misskaella casts her spells – and brings forth girls from the sea – girls with long, pale limbs and faces of haunting innocence and loveliness – the most enchantingly lovely girls the fishermen of Rollrock have ever seen.
But magic always has its price. A fisherman may have and hold a sea bride, and tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she is. He will be equally ensnared. And in the end the witch will always have her payment.
Margo Lanagan is an author who I have heard nothing but wonderful things about, particularly in relation to her YA fairytale/fantasy novel Tender Morsels. But it is this historical fantasy that I am particularly desperate to read – mermaids, sea witches and magic, can you really ask for more than that?! It seems somewhat dark and sinister and miles away from the Disney mermaids that we know and love, and from what I’ve heard, Lanagan’s writing style is just as beautiful as the story that she has created.
Looking after a naked girl he found washed up under Hastings pier isn’t exactly how Rory had imagined spending his sixteenth birthday. But more surprising than finding her in the first place is discovering where she has come from.
Lorali is running not just from the sea, not just from her position as princess, but her entire destiny. Lorali has rejected life as a mermaid, and become human.
But along with Lorali’s arrival, and the freak weather suddenly battering the coast, more strange visitors begin appearing in Rory’s bemused Sussex town. With beautifully coiffed hair, sharp-collared shirts and a pirate ship shaped like a Tudor house, the Abelgare boys are a mystery all of their own. What are they really up to? Can Rory protect Lorali? And who from? And where does she really belong, anyway?
This sounds like such a fun and unique YA read, and again one that I’ve heard great things about. The first in a duology, Lorali promises mermaid royalty, pirates and adventure in abundance, and I love the British seaside town setting. Laura Dockrill is a fantastic contemporary author, and I’m really intrigued to see her take on mermaids and the mythology that surrounds them.
For as long as she can remember, twelve-year-old Emily Windsnap has lived on a boat. And, oddly enough, for just as long, her mother has seemed anxious to keep her away from the water. But when Mom finally agrees to let her take swimming lessons, Emily makes a startling discovery – about her own identity, the mysterious father she’s never met, and the thrilling possibilities and perils shimmering deep below the water’s surface. With a sure sense of suspense and richly imaginative details, Liz Kessler lures us into a glorious undersea world where mermaids study shipwrecks at school and Neptune rules with an iron trident – an enchanting fantasy about family secrets, loyal friendship, and the convention-defying power of love.
This is a book that I have read before, albeit a very long time ago, and can remember absolutely loving back in my primary school days! The first in a children’s fantasy series, The Tale of Emily Windsnap follows our protaganist Emily who has lived most of her life on a boat but never ventured into the water. When she decides to learn how to swim, she unwittingly discovers why her mother has kept her away from the ocean for all those years – as it turns out, she’s a mermaid! I don’t think I ever made it past the second or third instalment in the series, but as there are quite a number now and all of the covers are so beautiful, it definitely sounds like a really fun series that I’d like to get stuck into.
The allure and mystery of mermaids has taken hold of our psyche for ages. From the Irish merrows who come on land to search for human husbands to the fake Fiji Mermaid made popular by P.T Barnum, these sea maidens (and sometimes men) can be found in folklore and mythology from every tradition in the world.
Inside this captivating collection, complete with beautiful illustrations throughout, you’ll discover the myths surrounding these enigmatic beings, explore the common symbols associated with them, and learn tales of merfolk from around the world. Dive into Mermaids and get swept away!
Not only is this book absolutely beautiful, it also sounds like something that I definitely, 100% need in my life. I’ve never read anything about the mythology that surrounds mermaids, and I think that this book would offer a really interesting overview into mermaid lore in different countries and parts of the world. This is at the very top of my wishlist!
One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid.
As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on… and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.
Where will their ambitions lead? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?
This historical fiction debut has been everywhere lately, and the buzz and high praise surrounding it have made me increasingly eager to get my hands on a copy. While this definitely sounds more historical than fantasy, I’m intrigued to see how mermaids feature and come into play, and I love novels set within the Georgian era so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one.
In a cottage high atop Llanfair Mountain, sixteen-year-old Clara lives with her sister, Maren, and guardian, Auntie. By day, they gather herbs for Auntie’s healing potions; by night, Auntie spins tales of faraway lands and wicked fairies. Clara’s favorite story tells of three orphan infants—Clara, who was brought to Auntie by a stork; Maren, who arrived in a seashell; and their best friend, O’Neill, who was found beneath an apple tree.
One day, Clara discovers shimmering scales just beneath her sister’s skin: Maren is becoming a mermaid and must be taken to the sea or she will die. So Clara, O’Neill, and the mermaid-girl set out for the shore. But the trio encounters trouble around every bend. Ensnared by an evil troupe of traveling performers, Clara and O’Neill must find a way to save themselves and the ever-weakening Maren.
And always in the back of her mind, Clara wonders, if my sister is a mermaid, then what am I?
Admittedly, I haven’t heard the greatest things about this YA novel, but as it’s about a mermaid of course I want to read it for myself. I’ve never read a book about transforming into a mermaid before – the only knowledge I have of mermaid transformations is that of Ariel in The Little Mermaid, and that doesn’t really count. While I am slightly wary, I think the premise sounds intriguing, so I’ll be interested to see what I make of this one.
Have you read any of these books? Do you have any recommendations for mermaid novels that I should add to my list? Let me know!