Friday, November 19, 2010
The Mermaid's Pendant by Leann Neal Reilly
About The Mermaid’s Pendant
Inspired by the beloved classic The Little Mermaid, THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a modern fairy tale about growing up and discovering who you are—and what you believe in. At times lyrical, this novel is a fantastic journey filled with magic, myth, romance, and adventure.
Four years after John Wilkerson claims the mermaid Tamarind for his wife, they have an idyllic marriage that depends on a talisman that she crafted on their island paradise. But Tamarind learns a painful truth: it takes more than legs to live on land and more than magic to sustain a bond. When the talisman breaks, she and John are forced to rely on themselves instead of magic.
Three wise women play key roles in the young lovers’ journey to mature love. Ana, Tamarind’s aging mentor, casts spells and performs seductions to keep the lovers apart. Valerie, an expat jewelry maker cum fairy godmother, works her own magic to bring them together. Lucy, their widowed neighbor, grounds the couple in the realities of marriage, parenting, and family.
THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a story for anyone who has ever believed in the transforming power of love.
Read the Excerpt!
John’s savior sat some minutes, watching him. Then she leaned forward and pressed several fingertips to his neck, feeling for his pulse. It was there, strong and steady. She let her hand slide along the skin of his jaw, brushing the hair away from his cheek. She put a light fingertip on his mouth, now a warm red. Her lips tingled and she leaned her face closer—perhaps she could press her lips there again? He moaned and rolled his head against the stones. The mermaid snatched her hand back and waited, her breath held, but he didn’t move again. She didn’t touch him a second time; instead, she caressed the hard muscles of his calves with her gaze. She looked away from his feet though. One still wore one of those pseudo-flippers that always made her shiver.
She had, of course, seen countless humans before—snorkeling and diving, on shore and on deck. But she’d never touched one before, never felt the dry skin that prickled with fine hairs. This man overwhelmed her. Already the sun had evaporated most of the water on his chest, which was covered with dark hair. Not like a merman, smooth and sleek and slender. His chest, shoulders, and hips were wider and his frame bulkier. His flesh was a different color, too. He was pale but not shark-belly pale like the mer people. His skin held warmth, the warmth of sun-bleached wood. Only his long dark hair resembled a merman’s. Her nostrils flared at his scent. She had no words to describe it other than hot and dry, but she used those words for the shore and he didn’t smell like the shore. He smelled like the wind from distant lands.
A voice, sandy and familiar, abraded her thoughts. “What have you done, young one?”
The mermaid looked up to see an ancient woman as gnarled and twisted as the roots of the trees that grew at the shore’s edge. The woman picked her way across the stones toward the place where the mermaid sat. She stopped a few feet away. Freeing her bag, which the mermaid had always seen at her waist, the old woman rummaged around for a few moments before withdrawing something. Then she came forward and nudged John with her foot. He didn’t stir.
“Pulled him out of the water, did you? Cough up all the water he breathed in?” The mermaid nodded. “And his heart’s beat is still strong?” The mermaid nodded again. “He’ll live then.”
She bent and tugged the flipper from the man’s foot. When it came off, the mermaid let a sharp sound escape her.
The ancient one laughed, a sound like dry stones shifting. “You think he’s strange? No wonder you find him so interesting, girl.” She smiled. It spread like seal oil on water. “I can help him, if you’d like.” She paused and waited. The mermaid stole a glance at the man and nodded. “This herb tincture will rouse him. I’ll see to it that he’s recovered his senses and can walk. You’d best get going. I’ll tell him I found him here.”
The mermaid nodded again. After one more look at the unconscious man, she propelled herself backward with her hands, her tail lifted slightly above the stones. Once she was in the water, she paused, her gaze taking in the wide stance of the ancient woman, who stood over the stranger as though he were her bounty from the waters. Was this all there was to saving a man’s life?
Before she could lower herself underwater and speed away, the old woman called to her.
“Oh, yes, young one, I need some turtle grass, and a sea cucumber. And one of those pink sea urchins, you know the ones.”
There was nothing of the usual promise of a human artifact or any stories about the human world on this island. The mermaid nodded. It was the old woman’s price for keeping her secret.
About LeAnn Neal Reilly
LeAnn Neal Reilly grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri, near the Missouri River, in that fertile land where corn, children, and daydreams take root and thrive. She spent countless hours reading and typing chapters on an old Smith-Corona in her closet, which luckily for her didn’t have doors. Then she put away her daydreams and her stories and headed off, first to graduate magna cum laude from Missouri Western State University, and later to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for a master’s degree in professional writing. Along the way, she majored briefly in chemistry, served as opinion editor and then editor of her college newspaper, and interned for the international design firm Fitch RichardsonSmith in Columbus, Ohio. The highlight of her internship came when she generated the product name renata for a Copco teakettle (although designing the merchandising copy for ceramic tile adhesive and insulation packaging surely runs a close second).
After graduate school, LeAnn worked first for a small multimedia startup and then a research group in the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. At the startup, she spent her time writing user manuals and multimedia scripts for software to train CSX railroad engineers. While working among geeks, LeAnn became enamored and decided to take one home for herself. After getting married and starting a family, she returned to her adolescent daydreams of writing novels. Never one to shirk from lofty goals, she added home schooling her three children as her day job.
After years of working in an office not much better than an unfinished closet, LeAnn has finished The Mermaid’s Pendant and is currently working on her next novel. LeAnn joined GoodReads three years ago where she writes reviews regularly.
LeAnn lives outside Boston with one husband, three children, a dog named Hobbes (after Calvin &), and a cat named Attila.
LeAnn’s Web site is http://www.nealreilly.com/
My Take: This was a wonderful retelling of the Little Mermaid but it doesn't stop at the Wedding. It goes on and tells the tale of what happens after the wedding and how life is not always Happily Everafter. Marriage takes work and this book gives you that side of the story. Great Book!!