Friday, February 18, 2011

Coming in March: Magical new novel from Carolyn Turgeon

An amazingly talented and imaginative author sprung from my humble hometown of State College, PA will be releasing her third fantastic work of fiction on March 1.

Carolyn Turgeon (that's her in a snowy photo I swiped from her blog), who was in the grade ahead of me at dear old State High and who may have had the not so magical misfortune of being in choir with me, is currently touring in support of her latest novel, "Mermaid" (Three Rivers/Crown, 2011, 288 pp., $14).

The gorgeous book cover (below) features a beautiful mermaid lass modeled by ... none other than Turgeon! Isn't it pretty?
She blogged some photos from that modeling experience on her own very entertaining blog, aka The Astonishing Blog, in August 2009 (click here to see that). She also has a website that links to her original blog as well as a brand new blog to support her book.
I haven't yet read the book, but it has received favorable reviews by the likes of Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus.
The dark fairytale quality seems to run along the same lines as her previous works, "Rain Village" (Unbridled, November 2006) and "Godmother, The Secret Cinderella Story" (Three Rivers/Crown, March 2009). I wrote about that fantastical novel in April 2009 ... check that blog out here).

From Publisher's Weekly:

Carolyn Turgeon, Three Rivers, $14 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-307-58997-2
In Turgeon's surprisingly dark retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, two women pine for the affections of a prince: mermaid Lenia, who pulls Prince Christopher from the sea, and Margrethe, the princess of the rival kingdom, who witnesses the rescue from the convent where she hides from the war raging between their two kingdoms. Lenia, who falls instantly in love with the prince, sacrifices the sea, her voice, and her health to be with him on dry land. Meanwhile, Margrethe believes that marrying the prince would unite their kingdoms, but when she arrives to arrange it, she finds him already enraptured with Lenia. While he remains unaware that the girl he loves is also the mermaid who saved him, Margrethe recognizes her rival immediately and puts into motion a plan to send the ailing mermaid back to the sea and save her own ravaged kingdom. Turgeon has done a superb job of creating compelling characters and conflict from a story already familiar to readers. (Mar.)

From Kirkus:
A Twist on the Classic Tale
Author: Turgeon, Carolyn
Review Date: November 15, 2010
Publisher: Three Rivers/CrownPages: 288Price ( Paperback ): $14.00
Price (e-book ): $14.00
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
ISBN (Paperback): 978-0-307-58997-2
ISBN (e-book ): 978-0-307-58998-9
Category: Fiction
Two princesses (one earthbound, one aquatic) vie for the heart of a prince in this new twist on the classic fairy tale. For 18-year-old mermaid princess Lenia, the world of men could not be a more exotic or fascinating place. Although her experience with humans is limited to the shipwrecks and dead sailors she comes across in her ocean-floor kingdom, she yearns for more. She gets her wish when she is finally permitted to go up and explore the surface, and has to save a young man from drowning during a storm. She delivers him to the shores of a convent and into the arms of a young novice. That girl, Margrethe, is actually the daughter of the northern king, hiding at the convent for her own protection. And, as luck would have it, the rescued sailor, Christopher, is the son of her father’s arch nemesis, the southern king. The two royals share an attraction, without knowing each other’s identity, and Christopher leaves without knowing Margrethe’s secret. Back with her merpeople family, a smitten Lenia pines for the prince and strives to find a way to be with him. Her quest takes her to the sea witch, Sybil, who informs her that becoming human is indeed possible, but comes with a steep price. Lenia has to give up her beautiful voice, and her lovely new legs will cause her chronic pain, like walking on knives. Also, Christopher must marry her if she is to survive and acquire a human soul. No matter. Lenia takes Sybil’s potion and goes to her beloved, who is indeed charmed by the mute otherworldly creature Lenia has transformed into. They become lovers, but she has competition. In order to stave off an almost inevitable war, Margrethe hatches a plan to marry Christopher herself, and unite their kingdoms. But while that might be good politics, it does not bode well for Lenia, who is unable to explain her situation to anyone. Faithful for the most part to Andersen’s dark fable, Turgeon’s (Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story, 2009) version wisely gives voice to the mermaid’s rival, making the prince’s ultimate choice—and Lenia’s sacrifice—even more poignant. A gothic love triangle with two equally matched heroines. This isn’t kid’s stuff.


If you're in the Empire State or thereabouts, Turgeon is scheduled to read from "Mermaid" on Thursday, March 3, from 7 to 8 p.m., at the Barnes & Noble Tribeca, 97 Warren St., New York, NY.

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