At last, Esmerine has earned her siren’s golden belt, imbued it with magic so she can defend the mermaid village and the sea. She’s excited to join her older sister Dosia as a siren; they’ve always enjoyed that junction of air and ocean, not to mention their glimpses of land-dwellers in boats and on shore.
Merfolk sometimes tease Esmerine about her childhood friendship with that flying boy who brought books to share with her on a tiny island. Paper never lasts under the sea, so she has only memories of the stories she and Alander read together. Perhaps she’ll see other flying folk soon, and one of those messengers can take her greetings to him.
The young sirens patrol near the surface, and if necessary use the power of their alluring songs to stop greedy humans from overfishing or exploring too close to the merfolk. Sometimes they must resort to overturning a boat or letting the ocean claim intruders from the surface. Always, always, always, the sirens have been warned against speaking to human men, for the pull felt between mermaids and men is strong and subtle.
When Dosia doesn’t return from a secret rendezvous with a young man on land, Esmerine knows that she must go ashore, transform her beautiful tail to awkward legs, put on human clothes, endure the fiery pains of each footstep, and find her sister before it’s too late – and Dosia is doomed to have land-legs forever.
At the seaport, she learns that her friend Alander now works at a bookshop – maybe he can check with the flying messengers to help Esmerine find Dosia. Grown up, he’s known as Alan now; the Fandarsee man discovers that Lord Carlo had fallen in love with Dosia and has taken her by carriage to his mountain castle to be married there.
How can Esmerine travel all the way from the shore to the mountains? Will it be too late to help Dosia return to the sea? And why does even arguing about little things with Alan feel better than Esmerine’s patrols with the sirens?
In this richly imagined world where humans, merfolk, and Fandarsee must find ways to co-exist, young Esmerine must discover where her heart can truly live.
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA