Did you ever go into a book expecting one thing and come out with something completely different? I did recently and I’m so glad it happened because this book was so much more than I originally thought. Enjoy the review!
Foam on the Crest of Waves* by Silke Stein is set in a small fishing town on the Mendocino coast. Like in many small towns there are rumours and suspicions galore, especially for one family trying to move on from the past. There is a woman trying to overcome the grief of a missing husband, her brother who keeps clinging to his deceased wife, and his daughter who is planning to turn into a mermaid on her fifteenth birthday.
Foam on the Crest of Waves is a loose retelling of The Little Mermaid and that is what drew me in. However, this book turned out to be so much more. First, let me say that it is very loosely based on The Little Mermaid so there are no worries that (a) your favourite fairytale might be ruined, (b) this book has too much fantasy, and (c) this story is not different enough to the original.
So, where do we see elements of The Little Mermaid? Most obviously is in Abalone who feels more at home in the sea and is absolutely determined she will become a mermaid once she turns fifteen. Secondly, in the stunning descriptions of Mendocino’s underwater world. I have to admit that the ocean and sea life don’t hold much attraction to me. However, Stein set my imagination alight with the wonders of the deep blue sea. The beautiful descriptive prose doesn’t end there. It is present on land too and especially during Abalone’s chapters where the reader gets an insight into her mind.
One other thing that fooled me beforehand was the presumption that this book is all about Abalone. She is certainly an important character but this is not the case. Instead, I perceived her to be the binding element between the various characters and themes of this book. Foam on the Crest of Waves has a theme for everyone, whether it be grief, loss, post-traumatic stress, and finding love.
What else this book has is emotion by the bucketload. I didn’t think I would become invested in any of the characters at the beginning of the book but as I progressed, I felt every bit of their joy and pain. Admittedly, there is a lot of pain in this book but all is not revealed immediately. Instead, the author chose to divulge a little of the story chapter by chapter and this done wonders for building up suspense.
Overall, I loved Foam on the Crest of Waves. It was my first surprise book for 2019 and has certainly set the standard very high.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.