A retelling of “The Little Mermaid” from the point of view of the other woman.
Evie’s a fisherman’s daughter, a secret witch, and the best friend of Crown Prince Asger Niklas Bryniulf Øldenburg III of the Kingdom of Havnestad—just plain Nik to her. Her world is an alternate 19th-century Denmark, in a tiny kingdom composed of a single fishing village, where she’s a black-haired, half-Italian girl among the mostly blond Danes. Four years ago, Nik and Evie lost their beloved friend Anna to the ocean. Now—his royalty, her poverty, and the disapproval of Havnestad notwithstanding—they continue their friendship as they teeter on the cusp of adulthood. When Nik nearly drowns, he’s rescued by a girl who looks just like Anna, but he’s unconscious; only Evie sees the girl. Is the rescuer a mermaid? And is she the same person as Annemette, the lovely blonde who suddenly appears in town as if from nowhere? Regardless, Annemette and Evie become the dearest of friends almost immediately. Foreboding warnings about crossing class boundaries and burning witches foreshadow a dark and unexpected twist at novel’s climax. Overly stylized prose, especially in the occasional third-person perspective chapters, slow the action with their forced poetic style.
Readers who gobble up every watery paranormal story will certainly enjoy this angst-drenched tale of forbidden love, but everyone else should stay on dry land. (Fantasy. 12-15)