Forbidden Sea- Sheila A. Nelson
When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, she is convinced that the mermaid means her harm. After all, the island is steeped in stories of mermaids' curses and the ill-luck that they bring. But Adrianne is fierce-willed and courageous and is determined to protect her family and the islanders from danger. Yet when the islanders find out about Adrianne's encounters with the mermaid, her family is scorned. They believe that once active, the mermaid cannot be quieted until an islander sacrifices herself to the sea. But is the legend true? And will their fear make them force Adrienne to test it? This is a haunting story of love, surrender and strength. -Plot summary borrowed from Good Reads
This one was a bit of a disappointment. The setting was obscure- pilgrims... kind of? (New) England.... maybe? Most of the secondary characters were underdeveloped, and it all felt a bit Mary Sue somehow. Oh, and the mermaids are barely a factor until the last third of the book, and when they do play a major role they seem bland, unrealistic and don't seem to fit with the rest of the book. And there are major plotholes- at one point Adrianne is offered a job at the Manor, is thrilled, and then proceeds to never mention it again. Ho hum.
There are some upsides, including the interesting and complicated family dynamics. Adrianne loves her little sister and mother fiercely, despite her mother's extremely passive role and willingness to allow Adrianne to shoulder all responsibility for the family (Katniss Everdeen, anyone?)/harsh criticisms from a meanspirited, old maid of an aunt living with them. The setting is interesting if murky, and there are some bits with horses as well as the mermaids, which might be enough for some readers.