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The Mermaid's Child by Jo Baker

The Mermaid's Child

by Jo Baker

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446262,368 (3.3)None
19th century (1) 2016 (1) adventure (2) dnf (1) ebook (1) fairy tale (1) fantasy (3) fiction (4) galley (1) literary fiction (1) mermaids (2) novel (2) orphan (1) orphans (1) pib (1) prostitution (1) rape (1) read in 2007 (1) read in 2015 (1) sf (1) sff (1) standalone (1) teen (2) to-read (3) voyage (1) voyages (1) YA (1)



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What a powerful novel. Jo delves into the seedy underbelly of society and the darkness a young, penniless girl has to navigate to find herself, her freedom and her place in the world. Malin never gets a break, from one world to the next, despair follows her every step of the way and as you begin to see hope for her something happens to haul her straight back to the darkness.

From slavery to prostitution to sailor to deck hand and scholar to slavery.... life is determined to keep Malin down. The Mermaids Child, while demonstrating the dark side of the world also spills light on the good in people and the kindness one can discover at their worst. A story about the resilience of a broken woman and the drive to live on despite the worst The Mermaids Child was dark, devastating and hopeful.

Jo gets her character around the world and back without actually naming countries, continents or languages leaving the reader to map out their own journey with Malin to the ends of the earth and home again. ( )
  AnaThaylen | Mar 3, 2017 |
Malin is the daughter of the ferryman in a poor village. He has always said that her mother was a mermaid. After her father dies and her grandmother sends her to work for her keep at a local tavern, Malin decides to leave and search for her mother's people. ( )
  lilibrarian | May 12, 2015 |
This book should be such a fun read. The concept of the story makes you want to read it and instantly think it will take you on a magical journey ride. I had to make myself read this book to the tenth chapter. There was nothing exciting or charming about this book. Malin's grandparents are awful and put the whole family down. I had no desire to read further and find out if Malin finds her happy ending. ( )
  Cherylk | Mar 25, 2015 |
This one is an odd duck. It was nowhere near what I expected. Jo Baker definitely can turn a phrase, but this one is so harsh to the eye and ear that it leaves a reader emotionally numb. While this is done on purpose to mirror the main character's experiences, it takes some fortitude to get through the story and will most likely turn off most potential readers.
  jmchshannon | Mar 9, 2015 |
A coming-of-age story of sorts, Malin is a girl of indeterminate age who opens this narrative with the sad statement that she doesn’t remember ever having a mother. But fantasy surrounds her mother, intriguing Malin from the moment her father reveals the reason for her absence. Her mother couldn’t stay, he told the child; she had to go back to her own people. She was a mermaid.

For unrevealed reasons [other than the stated fact of having no mother], Malin is an outcast in the town she calls home and shortly after her father’s death her grandmother sends her away to work at the public house. Thinking of this as a new life opening before her, in her naïveté she believes she has “prospects.” But what follows is a series of difficult-to-believe, heartrending “adventures” for her, a series of journeys that ultimately bring her back to where she began. Despite all the brutality she’s endured, does this mean she’s finally found her heart’s desire?

“The Mermaid’s Child” contains some beautifully-written prose, but there are no answers about Malin’s mother and readers who struggle through the sturm und drang of Malin’s harsh life are likely to be disappointed by this relentlessly grim, dark, and cruel narrative with its non-ending ending. ( )
  jfe16 | Jan 19, 2015 |
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Raised by her father, Malin has always been told that her mother was a mermaid. As a young girl she believes it, but as a young woman she doesn't know what to believe. After her father dies, she flees to wander the globe in search of the mermaids, in search of the mother's love she has never known.… (more)

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