Must Love Mermaids

Today’s post by author Erika Marks | @EricaMarksAuthr | Erica on Facebook

We’re giving away a copy of Erika’s latest novel, THE MERMAID COLLECTOR today. Simply leave a comment on this post to enter.

Erika Marks

The Little Mermaid. Splash.

What is it about mermaids that we women can’t get enough of them?

By all accounts, they shouldn’t command the affection they do. After all, the tailed-maidens of the silver screen bear little resemblance to their literary counterparts. Unlike the angelic Ariel from Disney’s A Little Mermaid, the mermaid in Hans Christian Anderson’s tale on which the movie was based suffered terribly for her devotion to her human beloved. And hers is hardly the only mermaid tale to include tragedy and despair. In many myths, mermaids seek a human mate only to be doomed to perish unloved.

And yet, for all of the mischievous and manipulative—even murderous—tendencies of mermaids in lore, they remain iconic and indisputably compelling to so many women.

I should know. When I was looking for inspiration for a new novel, I had only to come across a 19th century mosaic of a sea captain and the mermaid he left his wife for before the fantasy took shape in—and hold of—my imagination. It was only when I began doing research for The Mermaid Collector that I discovered just how complex and contradictory the mermaid myth is. Are they cold-blooded hunters, amused by luring their lovers to their watery deaths—or are they fragile and misunderstood half-maidens, desperate for love from men they cannot have?

Maybe it is that same duality that compels us as women to find them fascinating. In some cases we can condemn them for their representation of a male fantasy, a woman whose only goal in life is to belong to a man and who (as in the case of Andersen’s The Little Mermaid) will endure disfigurement to win one’s approval and love. In other cases, mermaids signify a woman of independence and feminine power. Regardless of their sometimes-devious natures, they are mysterious, cunning—and they drive men to such a degree of infatuation, those men are willing to drown to possess them.

In The Mermaid Collector, the mermaids are elusive but yet forever present; characters from a local legend that have defined a town and its residents for over a century. To many of the female residents of Cradle Harbor, especially the heroine Tess Patterson, the mermaids symbolize life’s magic, the promise of dreams and the power of fantasy. It would seem a curious passion considering these mermaids are believed to have lured four male residents to their deaths in 1888—yet their purported act has inspired an annual Mermaid Festival that draws a tremendous crowd every summer, and fills the town with an undeniable enchantment.

In some ways, Tess Patterson herself is a bit like that little mermaid, determined at the story’s beginning to win the affections of a man who can’t love her the way she needs to be loved, willing to sacrifice most everything of meaning to secure that love.

Could it be that like the residents of Cradle Harbor, we as women can’t make up our minds on the subject either?

Wait.

Whoever said we had to?

 Erika Marks is a native New Englander who was raised in Maine and has worked as an illustrator, cake decorator, art director and carpenter. She lives and writes in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, a native New Orleanian, and their two daughters. THE MERMAID COLLECTOR is her second novel after LITTLE GALE GUMBO.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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22 Responses to Must Love Mermaids

  1. Lisa Evola October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds enchanting! I used to paint mermaids, the idea of a mermaid festival is cool, I think it would be very popular. Sounds like a good read!! I’m in!

  2. cynthia y October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This sounds wonderful! It is in my to be read shelf now.

  3. Gayle October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I would love to read this book. Thanks for sharing it. Gayle

  4. Heather Marsten October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Interesting story premise – I’ve loved mermaids since reading the fairy tale. It is true, so easy to fall in love with one that is hard to love – and the sacrifices made for love. Thanks for putting me in this contest.

    HM at HVC dot RR dot COM

  5. karenk October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    a wonderful posting…thanks for the chance to read this beautiful novel

  6. Verla Powers October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This book sounds like a winner. I always enjoy tales of the sea and just reread Treasure Island. I think seventh grade was the last time I read this book, but, as an adult, I once again became immersed in the tale.

  7. Charity October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a book I would like to read. Thanks for the opportunity.

  8. Marie Lehman October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I have always loved mermaids, the woman in water is easy to relate to. Would love to read this book!

  9. Seaside Book Nook October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I love mermaids. This sounds like such a great book. Thanks for the great giveaway.

    Jill at Seaside Book Nook

  10. Becky S October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I too never can decide if I like mermaids or not! BUT I LOVE to read!!!

  11. Gina Beirne October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I would love to win the contest and read this book. I enjoyed the author’s first book very much.

  12. Sandra October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a fascinating book. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

  13. Julie S. October 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Thanks for the giveaway!!

  14. Katherine Jones October 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like my kind of read!

  15. Susan Coster October 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Who doesn’t believe in magic and mermaids?

  16. Paula Dolin October 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Thanks for the chance to win and all the great book recommendations!

  17. Sara Grambusch October 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I’m so excited for this one! Little Gale Gumbo is one of my absolute favs and I’m ready to ready anything by Erika :)

  18. Linda F. October 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Love the book ideas from this site! Would love to read this!

  19. Susan October 6, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    What a great idea for a book! Sounds mesmerizing!

  20. Janet Estridge October 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I have been to Weeki Wachee which is the home of real live mermaids.
    I also have seen manatee’s which some have thought to be mermaids.
    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to win this book.
    Janet Estridge.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Literary Friday, ya’ll…. « Traveling With T - October 5, 2012

    [...] the book’s release date. To win a copy of this book, all you have to do is make a comment HERE. Enter the contest, and find out about the magic of The Mermaid Collector [...]

  2. More Mermaid Sightings! « Erika Marks - October 19, 2012

    [...] SheReads [...]

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