Book Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2 / 5 stars, DNF @ 60%)
Eliza loves her Nana Mora, especially her stories about Silverswift, the legendary mermaid! One winter, Eliza receives a letter from Mora asking her to spend time with her for the holidays on St. Simmons Island. After arguing with her mother about the story, eventually she is allowed to go. But when she arrives, she finds her grandmother more distraught than ever. Is it possible the story of Silverswift is true? And if so…can they make it to Siren’s Harbor before the solstice so Nana Mora can see Silverswift one last time?
I suppose it has finally happened: I have DNF’d a book that I can actually rate. I never rate a book unless I hit 50% of the way through. For awhile, I kept trying to push through this story, but something just didn’t work for me.
The story itself is heartwarming: a grandmother and her granddaughter hunting for a mythical legend, while facing issues about family and friendships. The message is warm, and it’s well written, intermingled with a subtle hint of fantasy. I wanted to find Siren’s Harbor as much as Mora and Eliza!
But, especially for a middle-grade novel, it dragged. It might have been the narration, which still seemed slow at 1.25x speed! I felt my mind wandering while listening to this book. Often times, when I am listening to an audiobook and I struggle the narrator, I’ll go and find the actual book or eBook. But, this story was only shared as an audiobook, so I had to make the choice as to whether or not I wanted to finish it, especially when I have many other stories in my Library.
I chose to DNF it. While I am sure the story ultimately has a great message in it, now just wasn’t the time for me to listen to it.
Also, personally, I was more interested in Eliza and Mora than in the detours into Silverswift’s tale, and that’s when my interest began to wane. I’m sure a lot of children will want to hear about Silverswift though…and possibly find Eliza and Mora less interesting (but I don’t speak for children). What I do think is that since the narration was so slow, it might not keep the interest of children. Though, it might help them get to sleep at night (for better or worse).
I definitely do not recommend using my review to determine if you’ll enjoy this book. Perhaps you can overlook the slow narration, or will find the tale to be the mermaid story of your dreams. Personally, this audiobook did not work for me.
What’s it about?
The wind is always looking for a story to tell….
On a dark, wintry day, Eliza Grey receives a mysterious letter from her ailing Nana Mora begging her to come for a visit. This is an easy “Yes”. Eliza has always preferred Nana Mora’s beach cottage on St. Simons Island to the apartment she and her mom call home in the city. The island is a magical place where stories and legends grow as thick as the Spanish moss dangling in the trees. Now, Nana Mora’s eyesight is fading, and there’s something she wants to show Eliza before it’s totally gone: a mythical place locals refer to as Sirens Harbor. Supposedly hidden somewhere on the island, it’s a place where all the mermaids in the world congregate once a year to sing their Winter Song. It’s all fairy-tale silliness, according to Eliza’s mom. But Nana Mora is convinced it’s real.
With the help of an eccentric lighthouse keeper, Nana and Eliza pack up their gear and set out on their journey. As they travel, Eliza hears the real story of Sirens Harbor…along with the story of a fearsome mermaid named Silverswift, a warrior-princess rumored to have walked on the islands. Challenges abound for the adventurers: old maps are hard to read, and treacherous trails spiral through the woods. And there’s a strange storm spinning all around them. It’s almost as if some things are meant to stay secret. As if the harbor doesn’t want to be found. Or as if, maybe, someone doesn’t want them to find it….
One thing is for sure: what Eliza and her grandmother actually discover on the night of the winter solstice will be better than any fairytale. As Nana Mora says: “Some stories aren’t fiction, my darling Eliza. Some stories are lifetimes.”