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Review: Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of "The Little Mermaid" (Debbie Viguie)

Product Details:
Reading Level: any
Pages: 208
Publisher: October 24, 2006 by Simon Pulse
ISBN: 9781416940166
Source: Library book

Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of "The Little Mermaid" (Once Upon a Time)In a quiet fishing village seventeen years ago, one lone fisherman rescued a child from the sea. He and his wife raised the girl, Pearl, as their own daughter, never allowing themselves to wonder long about where she came from — or notice her silver hair, usually pale skin, and wide, dark blue eyes.

Pearl grows from a mysterious child into an unusual young woman, not always welcomed in the village. As all the other girls her age find husbands, she has only one friend to ease her loneliness. One very special, secret companion: Prince James.
But their friendship is shaken when trouble erupts in the kingdom — a conspiracy against the royal family combines with an evil enchantment from beneath the sea. Now, just when Pearl and James need each other most, bewitching magic and hints about Pearl's past threaten to tear them apart...forever.

Let me start by saying that The Little Mermaid is one of my all time favorite fairy tales (and Disney movies). I love it-- even the super sad ending. That story started my obsession with all things mermaid. A few years ago I picked up some other books in the "Once Upon a Time" series at a local library book sale. I read through them before I put them in my classroom library and thought that they were fun versions of many of my favorite fairy tales. I had no idea there was TLM book in the seriess (although it makes perfect sense). So, obviously, when I discovered this book did exist, I made it one of my summer goals to obtain a copy to read. My local book stores disappointed me with their lack of availability, but the library came through for me! I sat down a few days ago to start this book and fell head first into the "new" plot.

There are a few major differences in this version of TLM than other retellings I have found. First of all, Pearl is a mermaid living on land with no knowledge of her true identity. Add that to her relationship with her best friend (the Prince) and you already have a new tale. But it doesn't stop there... Other merfolk appear throughout the plot to really make this version do a tail-spin (pun intended).

When things started to get complicated, I realized that this would be a pretty straight forward read. I knew instantly when a few new characters appeared how things would play out. That disappointed me a bit because I had high hopes for this story, but then I realized this entire series is pretty predictable. Once I made up my mind to just read to enjoy the story, I found myself pretty happy with how things turned out. In the end, everything fit into a nice little box with a shiny bow.

Of course, making everything fit in said box made the plot a little transparent. There were so many loose ends that were quickly tied up (and in a somewhat unsatisfying way). But again, I reminded myself that I was reading this just for the new twist on a classic tale. I wasn't looking for an award winner or a new favorite mermaid book. In the end, I did manage to get a fun story (although a slightly rushed ending) that didn't take long to read. There was no deep thought or characters involved. Just a simple summer read.

If you enjoy mermaid stories, read this one for fun while you sit pool side or at the beach. You'll speed through it with ease. Do not read this book if you're looking for a break out mermaid novel that is beyond anything you've ever read before. You will be disappointed. I can safely say, however, that I enjoyed it-- but I'm glad I didn't buy the book. Another plus for the local public library!



  1. Thanks for the review. I always cry at the end of TLM! It's also my favorite movie ever.

  2. A well done review! Sounds like a good book for my girls. We're on the way to the library today and we'll look for it!

  3. I loved this book! Pearl was a great girl and The little mermaid is a wonderful movie. Nice review :D


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