I found The Mermaid's Pendant particularly difficult to review, because although it does have definite flaws I feel like Reilly has a lot of potential and maybe with a better editor who wasn't afraid of slashing away content there would really have been a good book inside The Mermaid's Pendant. The problem was the first half of the book was basically pointless but the second half was very well done. The blurb describing the book begins with "Four years after John marries the mermaid Tamarind"- however he doesn't even find out she is a mermaid (even though it is terribly obvious even just from the title of this book) until halfway through, and once he does he doesn't seem to have nearly as many questions about her being a mermaid as I would have expected and instead jumps into marrying her. Considering when they first met he got the impression she was just a young girl, having him suddenly hop into bed with her made me a little uncomfortable.
However once John and Tamarind settle down with their adorable daughter and interesting neighbour, I really felt like Reilly excelled. She was very talented at capturing domestic life, although I would have liked to learn more about the issues Tamarind faced as a mermaid living as a human- asides from not understanding idioms it's an issue Reilly mostly skims over. She does do a good job at creating rich and interesting characters, I particularly enjoyed John's ex-girlfriend Zoe, and not just because we share a first name! At times I found it slightly frustrating however, that for a book filled almost exclusively with female characters very few of them are strong role models and in fact both Tamarind and her neighbour Lucy appear to be entirely defined by the men in their life. Tamarind loves the sea, but she doesn't even seem to think twice about giving it up for John, and it's a sacrifice he doesn't return, as she stays at home to look after their child and he takes up a job without even consulting her.
Overall, I did feel that The Mermaid's Pendant would have benefited from a few more edits, I did enjoy the characters Reilly created as well as the richness of language she used, and her expert eye for details. I think that there is certainly a lot of issues brought up in the book, and that it would perhaps be a good selection for a book club. My favourite thing about The Mermaid's Pendant is that although Reilly covers themes that have been done before, she does it with her own hint of magic. **
Number of Pages: 586 pages
Published: March 2010
This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.