The Mermaid Girl by Erika Swyler


***I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review***


SYNOPSIS: The story of Pauline, the mermaid girl, and the man who gave her a permanent home and the struggles she has to stay and the struggles he has to keep her with him.

PREVIOUS: The Book of Speculation


***There will be spoilers for The Book of Speculation in this review***

This book is a prequel to The Book of Speculation and I enjoyed it so much more than the novel. I think where Swyler really excels is in third person POV because the parts in The Book of Speculation that were the strongest were the parts that weren’t in Simon’s first person POV. It was nice getting to see a  little of Simon and Enola’s parents before they died and to really see how their relationship worked. There was a beautiful poetic quality to the prose and it really helped to convey the myriad of emotions that Pauline and Danny feel. I love how their fears really show the type of people Pauline and Danny are. Pauline’s fears always revolve around herself and she worries about losing everything she has, while Danny fears losing Pauline. They balance each other out very well and it’s easy to see why they weren’t that great of parents to Simon and Enola. Yes, there are moments where they show sweet, parental affection toward their children, but for the most part both parents are stuck in their heads over the past and how to keep hold of their future. I also liked seeing their thoughts on their children. Enola is just a baby, so she doesn’t have much of a personality yet, but Simon is a little boy and it was interesting to see how Pauline and Danny viewed his quirks and protectiveness of his baby sister. In a weird way their family was simultaneously working and not working. It also helps to read this book after you read The Book of Speculation because there are some moments in Pauline’s POV that get touched on in fuller detail in the novel, but are brushed past in this short story. This story takes place a little before Pauline’s drowning and I liked that little hints to what is in store for her are laid out in her obsessive reading of the tarot cards and her bouts of illness that causes her husband to worry. Overall I’d recommend this story because it’s both short and sweet and extremely well-written. I think Swyler has improved on her character work since The Book of Speculation and I’m curious to see what she writes next.

Thanks St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read this book! Buy your copy here!


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