The Old Mermaid's Tale

The Old Mermaid's Tale - Kathleen Valentine This book nearly broke my heart. I didn't really like most of it that much, but I was still crying at the end. I picked it up thinking I was going to read a romance. It was clear from the beginning that this book was really more about the characters of Canal Street, and the seamen that live and work the Great Lakes. The strong theme throughout was the the idea of romance. Not romance in the sense of two people loving each other, but rather the romance you can find in everyday life. The main character, Clair, is intrigued by the seamen that come off of Lake Eerie and she loves hearing their stories. The author introduces us to a cast of characters from Canal Street and the novel is really about Clair's life as she meets them and grows herself. There are three romantic partners for Clair in the book, but the last, Baptiste is really The One. Many people have commented that they love the Baptiste because he is so dark, broken, and lovely. I didn't really dig him as a romantic lead, but the love story he has with Clair is very beautiful. Needless to say, it has a tragic ending but I don't think the author meant to be that sad. The book ends on a positive note, in sync with the rest of the books poetic tone.