Mermaid in a Tiger Cage (The Mermaid – A Book Review)

The Mermaid
Author: Christina Henry
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

The Mermaid

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt


Once there was a mermaid called Amelia who could never be content in the sea, a mermaid who longed to know all the world and all its wonders, and so she came to live on land.

A fairytale, a beautiful, magical mermaid gets caught in the net of a fisherman and he lets her go, never expecting to see her again. But then, he does. They fall in love. Then suddenly, the ocean takes him away.

Amelia, the mermaid, decides, after years in self-appointed exile on the seaside, to be a part of P.T. Barnum’s museum. She will play the mermaid—though it’s not a trick—only on her terms. She quickly discovers that Barnum never gives up a moneymaking scheme. He doesn’t intend to let her go.


This book was on my summer list the day it came out. I love mermaids. They’re magical and sleek and dangerous and just beautiful. This story started out just like a fairytale with its Once upon a time…


Sadly, this book fell a bit shorter than my expectations. It was longing and sweet and filled with splendid heartache that could only be healed with renewal. The tug-of-war between Amelia and P.T. Barnum didn’t rise to very much in all honesty. I loved seeing Amelia in charge. A woman/mermaid should be in charge of her life and Barnum was known for being dreadful to his acts, pushing them beyond their lengths. Buuuut…nothing really came of it. Not for me.

The characters were poignant in their own independent ways. From loss, yearning, and even desperation. I found Amelia’s friendship with Charity, Barnum’s wife to be the most intriguing. They weren’t friend right off the bat. It was trying, and that’s what I loved about it. Their friendship was something special to be worked toward rather than be immediately had. In the end, it was truly fearless and deeply caring and strong. It made me think of my best friend. I know I can tell her anything and she’s always there for me. This was what captivated me.

That, and I really love when a story is told from the POV of a magical creature. It’s fascinating. They see the world so much differently. It’s all new or exciting or frightening or right on the nose. The way everything was confusing and new for Amelia was realistic. There are so many things, even today, that is useless, but without it you aren’t a part of the great big wheel AKA society. I loved that she questioned it fearlessly. In such a great big world, one should always ask questions.

The storytelling itself was my favorite out of this whole story. It was enchanting. It had those lines that just made me sigh. This is really what kept me attached. From those wispy, dreamy moments to those dark, breath-catching ones, I hung on every word, just swept away. I just wish the story itself had also been as interesting.


While this wasn’t a rip-roaring book, it was in the deep end with emotions. I just wish there’d been more excitement to it. The longing for the sea really made my heart ache as did Amelia’s heartbreak, but her time with Barnum didn’t really sway much in me. The writing however was superb!



“This was the secret she kept beneath her tongue, the wish she never spoke, for to speak it would make its magic disappear.” (p. 66)

“They wanted the moon, but they realize it cost the earth.” (P. 139)

“Humans often value what they should not, she reflected, and most often they did not value what was right before their eyes.” (p. 208)

“A bird in a cage still know it’s in a cage, even if the bars are made of gold.” (Amelia, p. 276)


More to come soon…



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P.S. Song today? Enchanted by Taylor Swift


Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.

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