Review: To Break a Silence

My final read of MerMay and first book of #fairytalesummer is To Break a Silence by Lydia Mae, a retelling of "The Little Mermaid" from the Shattered Tales series. I was a little skeptical about reading another book from a series whose premise revolves around trying to "fix" fairy tales that I never thought were broken in the first place. However, this book turned out to be a worthwhile read. It's a more literal interpretation of the story than My Fair Mermaid, which I also enjoyed. The main thing it changes is that it provides a new option that doesn't require the mermaid protagonist to either marry the prince she rescued or sacrifice herself. The idea of an alternate romantic interest has been done before in books like The Jinni Key and Song of the Sea, but it's a little different each time, allowing each endearing love story to unfold in unexpected ways.

Stella is a siren who is not supposed to be seen by humans. Dillon is the son of an admiral sworn to protect his fleets from sirens and other threats. By all intents and purposes, these two should be enemies, but fate has something else in store. When Stella visits the surface for the first time, she is shocked to find a prince who looks identical to the statue she had been obsessing over in her secret grotto. However, when she is spotted by the ship's crew, she is forced to sing and bring forth a storm that pulls her beloved prince into the depths of the sea. She brings him ashore, where he is discovered by a woman at an abbey that he believes to be his savior. Meanwhile, Dillon is reprimanded for failing to catch the siren and allowing the prince and his crew to fall victim to her song. These events create lasting ripples in both of their lives that bring the unlikely pair together.

When Stella expresses her desire to see the prince again and prove that she is the one who saved him, she is offered the opportunity to wear a magical necklace made of sea glass that will give her legs in exchange for debilitating pain from the glass shards in her feet and throat, making it nearly impossible for her to speak and agony for her to walk. When she uses the necklace in the middle of the sea, she is discovered by Dillon, of all people, who takes her in and patiently takes the time to understand who she is and what she wants. Due to a case of mistaken identity, he believes her to be Princess Lorilyn with whom Prince Percival has formed a marriage alliance and escorts her to the castle. After being received by the prince, Stella realizes that he has very little interest in getting to know her despite believing she is his future wife and that Dillon is a much better match.

This book stands apart from other "Little Mermaid" retellings in that it doesn't take shortcuts like writing or sign language to allow the voiceless mermaid to communicate with her love interest. Instead, he takes the time to interpret her feelings based on facial expressions and pointing, which makes Dillon someone worthy of Stella's affection due to his patience and understanding. He teaches her that there is more to love than falling for someone at first sight. The big twist at the end is genuinely surprising and gives off major Princess and the Pauper vibes. This a "cozy" retelling with very little violence, no real antagonist, and a happy ending for everyone. If you're looking for a dark retelling with a social commentary on the importance of women having a voice, this isn't it. Instead, this book is a sweet and unexpected love story that was right up my alley as a fan of romantic fairy tales.

To Break a Silence by Lydia Mae is a delightful retelling of 'The Little Mermaid' that offers a fresh and unique twist on the classic tale. With its sweet romance, endearing characters, and unexpected plot twists, this book is a must-read for fans of fairy tale retellings. By providing an alternate option for the mermaid's happy ending, this story shows that there's more than one way to tell a classic tale. With its focus on communication, understanding, and patience, this book stands out from other retellings and is a perfect read for those looking for a cozy and romantic fairy tale. If you're looking for a light and charming read, To Break a Silence is definitely worth diving into!


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