I have long been a fan of mermaids: I'm fascinated by their long history in myth and lore, and their creepy sexuality. I'm also intrigued by the fact that at a time when all sorts of supernatural creatures are being resurrected for fantastical consumption on TV and in books -- vampires, werewolves, giants, and fae -- mermaids are just not included.

Perhaps because people tend to see them as sweet creatures, rescuing sailors from drowning (or acting as high-tech medics a la Dr. Who)? If so, then Disney won. But I'll point out that the original Little Mermaid by HC Andersen is a heart-breaking tale that I can still remember reading and weeping for her agony.

Which is a shame, but explains why more people don't know about a sweet little gem of a book by  Varla Ventura. Among the Mermaids is loaded with tons of research and written in a no-nonsense and friendly style. All of the stories are great (and I'm told she had to really cull it down to find the best!) and there is more information than you might guess to be found.

Well done Ms. Ventura, well done!

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Varla Ventura
Weiser Books, 2013
pp. 256, $15.95

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