28 June 2010


by Ananda Braxton-Smith

black dog books. Australian, Young Adult, Fantasy. Paperback rrp $18.99

Neen lives with her Aunt Ushag in an isolated corner of an island in the northern seas. After Neen’s sailor father was lost at sea, her despairing mother Ven, walked for days and weeks around the island. When Neen is still only a small child, Ven walks into the sea, disappearing for good.

As Neen grows and becomes a young woman she starts to question her aunt’s responses to this story. Listening to the village folk’s tales of what truly happened to them, Neen looks towards the ocean for answers.

Is her mother really a merrow, a mermaid? Is she still alive, living under the sea, waiting for the day her daughter will join her? And did her father offer himself freely to the sea and the merrows?

When Neen looks down at the birthmark scale that covers small parts of her skin, she feels maybe she does belong in the sea. Maybe she will find an answer there. But what Neen discovers in the caves surrounding the island is not the answer she was expecting.

Merrow is a beautifully written tale of a young girl’s struggle to discover where she has come from. This mysterious, fantastical and historical story will drag the reader along with the undercurrent tugging at the kelp tangling around Neen’s legs.

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