The Mermaid’s Child, Jo Baker
In this fantastical novel, the acclaimed author of “Longbourn” brings us the magical story of a young girl in search of her mother…who just might be a mermaid. Malin has always been different, and when her father dies, leaving her alone, her choice is clear: stay, and remain an outsider forever, or leave in search of the mythical inheritance she is certain awaits her. Apprenticed to a series of strange and wonderful characters, Malin embarks on a grueling journey that crosses oceans and continents–from the high seas to desert plains–and leads to a discovery that she could never have expected.
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I was really excited about the Mermaid’s Child. I have been wanting to read Baker’s Longbourn since it came out – but somehow I never get to it when I have it from the library. I thought this new release of Baker’s previously published book sounded so fun and based on the reviews of Longbourn I jumped at the chance to read it. Mermaids and adventure- what else would you want? Malin was a really sad character. Her father dies, her grandmother hates her– basically no one in town likes her because of her mysterious mother. Malin is treated as less than a person all throughout the portion I read. I understand that she was a “normal girl” in horrible circumstances, but she became way too sexualized and it made me really uncomfortable. The book follows her journey to find her mother and Malin had met two people on the road and was about to have her second sexual relationship before I stopped reading. I don’t think of myself as a prudish reader- but this was not for me. I hope Malin finds a happy ending, I just don’t want to read about it. All that being said, there was some lovely writing in The Mermaid’s Child. This wasn’t a book for me, but I will definitely read Longbourn!
Thank you Random House and Edelweiss for this advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion.