silverswift book coverNo One is Ever Too Old for Fairy Tales

Author: Natalie Lloyd

Eliza is tired of her mom’s city apartment and new boyfriend. She longs for the imagination, wildness, and fun of her grandmother’s beach house and the accompanying stories about mermaids and magic. When a letter comes from Nana Mora, begging Eliza to come spend some time with her, it’s a call to adventure that cannot be refused. What results is a tale of life and love, a story about choices and loyalties imbued with the beauty of nostalgia and the sweeping epic of a generation of dreams.

Silverswift is not what I expected. This was an Audible freebie and even though it was technically labeled for kids – right down to the story book cover art – something about it just sounded kind of interesting. There aren’t many mermaid stories around, after all. I expected something swift and cute, something ultimately non-memorable but un-offensive. A brief blip in my normal reading exercises. Instead, Silverswift combined the beauty of a fairytale with real life lessons about family, moving on, growing up, and love. The concepts and thoughtful telling hit deep and even tempted a tear or two from yours truly.

It starts as most of these stories do. There is a parent who has no magic in her soul; she is beleaguered by a life of reality and has no time for the nonsense of her child and her own ailing mother. But Nana Mora and Eliza know better. They know that there is more to this world than meets the eye, and so their adventure is both secretive and illuminating. Together, they strike out to find Siren’s Harbor, a special place where all the mermaids in the world congregate on land for a Winter Song. What emerges is Nana Mora’s story of Silverswift, a warrior mermaid who actually walked the land for a time. She is half villain, half hero, and as her story unravels, Eliza has to deal with her own doubts and the frailty of her aging, lonely grandmother while trying to hide this last adventure from her no-nonsense mom. What we get is a dual story, equal parts heart rending and imaginative. It’s just cool and beautiful and emotional and oh . . . I wish there was a hard copy version of this I could buy and squirrel away in my library. It’s that good, and there is a sense and depth to it that is hard to capture in a review. You just need to read and experience it.

This is exactly the reason I’ve started to step out of my usual preferred genres – thrillers, mystery, horror – to try out things I wouldn’t usually wouldn’t dabble in. The world of writing is transcendent, and there is nothing like a story that captures the essence of time, the hopes and trials of youth, and the regrets and triumphs of old age. Silverswift, despite its finned heroines, is a deeply human one. Whether or not it is meant for children is beside the point. Or, maybe the point is we should never give up that hopeful, open-to-new-things, willing-to-listen child that still lives on in our hearts? Anyway, just go download this, listen, and be transported.

– Frances Carden

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Frances Carden
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