Elizabeth Fama’s MONSTROUS BEAUTY is only the second mermaid story I’ve ever read, but I’m not sure another will manage to top it. This book was beautiful and haunting and dark. And a complete surprise. I went in knowing very little and discovered a gorgeously crafted mystery that was so tightly woven it left me slightly breathless.
Jumping between present and past story lines, Fama tells the tale of Syrenka, a mermaid who trades her tail for legs after falling for a human. Hester, in the present timeline, is a teen determined to never fall in love. (No women in her family live more than a week beyond the birth of their first child, and so Hester is certain that avoiding love will ultimately spare her the same cursed fate). After meeting a mysterious stranger on the beach and bearing witness to unsettling hauntings at the local church, Hester begins dig for answers regarding her family tree. Syrenka’s tale (in the past timeline) is slowly revealed, culminating in a tragic and heart-wrenching climax that overlaps Hester’s life in the present. This is a deliciously creepy novel. I highly recommend you pick up a copy when it comes out this August.
NOTE: This review based on an ARC.
Originally reviewed here