*SPOILER* This easily ranks amongst the worst books that I have ever had the misfortune to read. The plot is patchy and unbelievable; the timeline is laughably unrealistic - especially from when Malin falls pregnant to when she arrives back home to have her child. The prose is abysmal; you can tell when the writer has used her thesaurus to change words in an attempt to appear more learned than she actually is. There were also elements of gratuitous vulgarity - which would be fine if they were in context and added to the plot - but these were unnecessary and jarred artlessly. It was very apparent which parts of the novel had been re-drafted and which parts had been left as first written; almost in the form of annotation rather than a finished piece of writing. The ending is a complete non-event, but by the time you reach it you couldn't care less; you're just glad that it's over. This is a truly awful attempt at a novel. Avoid it like the plague.
I could not put this book down, the mixture of fantasy and reality leaves you desperate to know what will happen next to Malin. Jo Baker's writing is again magnificent and watch out for the fingernail part, it will make your toes curl.
A captivating tale, beautifully written, I found The Mermaid's Child an engaging page turner. I found myself empathising with the main character throughout the life journey it describes, and was caught out by my own presumptions and bias at the end, which was something to reflect upon. If you love beautiful prose, historical fiction, a little whimsy and a smattering of darkness you should enjoy this.
I purchased this book because I have just finished reading the wonderful 'Longbourn'.
However, I was disappointed with the 'Mermaid's Child'. The book cover and title are deceptive, it looks like a book which is suitable for a child. Warning, it is not.
Despite the cheery blurb on the back cover suggesting that the protagonist Malin may be a Mermaid's child who goes on a journey from 'high seas to desert plains' the reader is only warned at the bottom of the first page that the 'book contains material which may not be suitable to all our readers'. Indeed this book covers violence against a teenage girl and gives an account of her prostituting herself in order to survive. This is a cross-over book (teens to adults), not a children's book. It is badly written with a weak plot and poorly developed characters.