The Mermaid Quilt & Other Tales by Beth Camp

Amazon Synopsis: A green mermaid, with eyes like agates turned by fire, waits by the bus stop . . .

I was never the littlest mermaid, afraid to swim in the deepest parts in the sea, or to sing the biggest ships into madness . . .

Mermaids permeate these stories and poems: A grieving artist sleeps under a mermaid quilt. A mermaid argues with a scholar. A pottery maker’s daughter befriends a mysterious stranger. A cowboy falls in love with the last mermaid. Two young girls discover a carved mermaid at a garage sale. A mermaid finds respite in a tree. And we discover what mermaids eat.
From the frozen Arctic to Mexico, Scotland, Russia, Brazil, and the United States, these stories and poems are all about mermaids. Sometimes funny, sometimes dark, they're shaped by myth from long ago and speak of love, revenge, and redemption. Written for adults, they unravel the heart songs of people who have been buffeted by life. They reinforce our yearning for something good and beautiful, and they reveal a fragile line between reality and magic.

** DISCLAIMER: This book was sent for review by the author but that will not influence my rating or opinion**

Spoiler free review since the stories are short ones that I don't want to ruin for you and there are not really spoilers for poems so... yeah.

This is a compilation of short stories and poems based on the mermaid legend, probably one of the more 'sophisticated' books I have read in a while. I have never really read a 'mermaid book' before since people seem to complain about the childishness of those characters. I agree it is a very easy character type to make cheesy and, therefore, irritable. Beth Camp did not do this. I finished this book pretty quickly, it isn't the longest book ever.

Reading these novels was like a metaphorical breath of fresh air. I don't even know how to explain what I mean. The way that Beth Camp writes these stories and poems reminds me of Celtic folk tales which enchant the reader. In the short stories, it is sometimes just legend that the mermaids are real. In some they are represented as creatures to be feared, more siren than mermaid, which gives the feeling of an old ghost story. They certainly have their brutal moments though.

The poems were just as mystical, telling stories of the creatures Camp has written with a great skill. The poems are written mostly from the mermaids point of view yet does not over do the description of life as a mermaid. Instead it is focused on the impact mermaids had as these mythical creatures on people who did not understand them.

Something else I found enjoyable was the switching in narrative. Sometimes it was in 1st person, sometimes 3rd. Camp determines perfectly which story needs which narrative style. Within these narratives is a selection of different characters also, each one written is a whole different person with a whole different set of customs in a whole different time period, which is something a lot of writers struggle to do.

I feel like the short stories were really enchanting tales and unlike anything I had ever read. I recommend to anyone looking for short pieces of work with a bit of variety yet continuity in the writing style. There was also potential for some of the stories to be developed further and I feel like some of them ended on an unsatisfying note. As a reader, once I have started the story and begun to feel attached to the character, the story ends and nothing is developed. You crave for a more definite ending. Really enjoyed this book though and recommend it.

Rating: 3.9/5


  1. Thank you, Kate, for a lovely review. It's fun to see my writing from a reader's perspective. I'll work harder on making the longer stories ones you'll enjoy as well. Just a note about that cover. The cover in this review is from Smashwords and the cover on Amazon is a blue blob of sea water. Thank you again, Kate!



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