For two weeks, come celebrate mermaids, whether it’s winter or summer where you live. Splash into Summer runs from June 28th to July 12th. There will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and more! Now is the time to celebrate mermaids, especially with so many new novels about them coming out.
What’s better than one mermaid? A trio of mer-sisters. The DAUGHTERS OF THE SEA quartet by Kathryn Lasky centers around girls who grew up never knowing they were mermaids. The novels take place at the turn of the 19th century and have a historical flavor to them in regards to things such as a woman’s role during the time period. The first book, HANNAH, features a girl named Hannah who grew up in an orphanage and winds up as a maid living in a rich family’s home. It isn’t necessary to read the first book in order to read the second one, MAY. In fact, many readers will want to read HANNAH after meeting her in MAY if they haven’t done so already (and others may want to re-read the book).
MAY has a stronger thread of romance running through it than HANNAH did. May also discovers her mermaid heritage much earlier, so readers embark on more of her life. It’s also fun to see Hannah re-appear in the novel as the book continues forward. I look forward to finding out more about both girls in the third book. Lasky has a way of ending each book without any firm resolutions. HANNAH ends at a point that is picked up in the second book, and I’m sure that the second book will be picked up at some point during the third. Since the series is a quartet, I expect that all three books will intertwine and come to a natural conclusion during the fourth book in the series. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the final book alternate points of view. So far, I’m most interested in seeing what happens to May.
To me, MAY had more danger and mystery than HANNAH did. Granted, I also read HANNAH when it first came out and no longer remember it quite as well. Unlike Hannah’s situation, May is discovered after a terrible shipwreck and taken in by Edgar (Gar) and his wife Zeeba. Zeeba is a hypochondriac, and poor May is treated as little better than her caretaker, though Gar treats her with kindness as a father should. May doesn’t even know her parents aren’t her natural ones until Zeeba reveals the secret during one of her nasty spells. After the revelation, May takes off for the sea and discovers that she transforms into a mermaid when in the water. She starts looking into her past, and winds up at the library learning about the conditions that led to the shipwreck that occurred when Gar found her. There, she meets a Harvard scholar named Hugh, who is studying many of the same theories. Romance slowly blossoms between the two despite the fact that a fisherman named Rudd is also attempting to court May. Rudd reminds me a lot of Gaston from Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, big and strong, friendly on the outside, but with a dangerous undertone. He wants May to be his and acts in ways that begin to creep her out. May’s plight has me wanting to know what will happen to her and hoping to see her story come back into the spotlight in a later book.
So far, it’s easy to read HANNAH and MAY out of order. HANNAH does come first chronologically, but it’s easy to weave the stories together in either direction. There’s a good chance that the third book will need to be read in order, not to mention the final book tying them all together. I can’t wait to see who the third sister will be and find out what decisions the sisters will make regarding themselves, the people in their lives, and the consequences of their heritage.
So far, MAY is my favorite cover of the two in the series. It’s more dreamy and romantic. I like that both books have the sisters wearing white. The cover for MAY fits more with the story, adding the lighthouse where May lives in the background. I like the colors of the sky and water, as well as the romantic image on the front. I do wish the girls had redder hair. I picture them with hair much darker than the strawberry-blonde (okay, it looks blonde, but it could be the lighting and it COULD be strawberry…) depicted on both covers.