Pros: A highly magical, romantic retelling of “the Little Mermaid”
Rating: 5 out of 5
“CC” is US Air Force sergeant Christine Canady. She’s spending the night alone on her twenty-fifth birthday before shipping out on a new assignment, and she’s getting happily drunk on champagne while watching The Witches of Eastwick. Somehow in the middle of her “girl power” mood, she ends up standing on her balcony in the full moon, reciting an invocation to bring magic into her life.
Little did she expect that it would not only work, but save her life! When her plane crashes into the ocean, CC awakens to find herself in another time and place—and another body. She has traded places with the mermaid Undine, only to find out that Undine herself was fleeing her all-too-dangerous half-brother. The goddess Gaea, Undine’s mother, takes pity on CC and transforms her into a human so she might take shelter on land.
There are only a few catches. If she doesn’t return to the sea every third night, she’ll sicken and die. If she wants to retain her human form, she must find love. In this time and place, even the hint of magic can be enough to have one burned at the stake. And worst of all, Undine’s half-brother, Sarpedon, hasn’t given up on finding her. Things seem to be headed for a simple conclusion when a handsome and chivalrous knight rescues CC from the water and takes her to a monastery, but as much as CC tries to give the man a chance, her thoughts keep returning to Dylan, a merman who came to her in the water…
Christine is a wonderful lead, a modern woman trying not to stand out in a very non-modern time. It’s going to take every ounce of cleverness and luck she can come up with to retain some say over her own life without being denounced as a witch by the suspicious Abbot. Her take on her circumstances and the people around her is interesting to watch, and I love the way she develops relationships with some of the female servants.
CC has quite the adventure ahead of her. Not only does she have to navigate the treacherous shoals of her identity and the monastery, but she has to simultaneously figure out who she loves, and how to make that work. There’s the knight, but he has some decidedly antiquated ideas regarding the place of a woman. There’s Dylan, but returning to the sea with him would place them both back in danger at Sarpedon’s hands. All that might become irrelevant, however, if CC can’t stop Sarpedon’s influence from spreading through the monastery.
The magic is lovely; the exploration of CC’s place out of time is fascinating, fun, and tense. The love story and sex (usual adult material warning) are beautiful and fulfilling. This is a wonderful tale that pulled me in like a strong undertow, and I couldn’t let go until I finished. It’s definitely on my list of recommended Spring reading!