A romantic fantasy that does its best to keep up with the many misadventures of a young mermaid exploring the world of humans.
Dashed upon the rocks, the young mermaid Breeze is rescued by her parents after another mischievous episode. The maritime matriarch, Oceana, is livid with Neptune and blames him for encouraging their wayward daughter’s rebellious side. Neptune takes the criticism in full stroke. Both wrathful and mirthful, the Poseidon-cum-patriarch confesses that he encourages his daughter’s recklessness. After some stock bickering (relayed in capital letters) the mermaid emerges from her coma, and Breeze’s bildungsroman begins. Breeze was taught the â€œart” of changing her tail into legs, and now she is seeking love from a cruise-ship worker whom she has found at a nondescript port of call. However, all is not as it seems, for this is not a simple story about a mermaid and her quest for a working-class prince charming. Instead, there are several narrative grottos that Fraley (Only a Fortune Cookie, 2007, etc.) explores at varying depths. Just as the genuine, eventually engaging story arch has a few false starts, so does Breeze. With the ability to metamorphose her tail in twain, she struggles to find her footing in the human world. In one of the story’s most genuine, humorous moments, Breeze, who cannot yet speak to people, mounts an ad hoc rescue of fish from a band of fisherman. The anglers’ aggravation leads her to conclude that they must communicate by yelling. But Breeze’s ability to communicate with a skunk whose family has been demolished by an automobile unfortunately leads to some unintentionally humorous passages. A closer attention to style and narrative pacing could have thwarted such awkwardness. Too often a seemingly major character is introduced and disappears within the span of a few paragraphs. The mystery of Breeze’s true origins and her romantic entanglements are rendered with care, and it is fresh to find a mermaid tale slapping itself down on a modern setting. Repetitions of imagery, description and action test the reader’s patience and despite the surprises, the ending is less revelation than preparation for a sequel.
A charmingly melodramatic love story with a likable protagonist, but only for the most fanatic lovers of mermaid mythos.