The Mermaid’s sister is about, well a mermaid’s sister. Clara lives with her adopted aunt, a medicine woman and her adopted sister, Maren, high in a mountain living a simple life. As Maren ages, she develops a tail and a need for water. It becomes fairly obvious that Maren’s only means of survival is to travel to the ocean and re-join her people.
Clara teams up with childhood friend, O’Neill, a peddler’s adopted son (sensing a theme here?) and makes the long journey. The trip is interrupted when Maren is kidnapped by a circus family that makes her their star attraction.
The family is cruel and Maren is slowly dying. Clara has to develop the inner courage to rescue her sister and herself.
This is Noble’s debut novel and it’s not perfect, but it is an entertaining read. Clara is a fairly empowered young woman. She is full of doubt and struggling to find her ordinary self in a world full of magic and cruelty.
The plot is peppy and the characters are fairly well formed, but it does feel like Noble spun the fantasy wheel and added some cliche elements that distract from the story. There is a cursed couple, three foundling children, an animal familiar, domestic violence, attempted sexual assault, and on and on and on.
This is a fun read. Some of the scenes that take place with the sideshow are a little over the top, both in terms of implied or actual violence and in just being too much. The ending is a little too cutesy, but it’s fine.