Friday, February 03, 2012

"The Old Mermaid's Tale" and I thank you so much for your beautiful words...

In the past couple of months The Old Mermaid's Tale has gotten some incredible reviews on Amazon. I appreciate these so much!



5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. A MUST READ!February 3, 2012
By 
Lyn Meadows (Danville, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have read several short stories by Kathleen Valentine, and I have enjoyed all of them. This is the first full length novel of hers that I have read, though. When an author is successful as a short story writer, I always wonder whether they can sustain that level of writing in a full length book. It is with great joy that I found that Kathleen Valentine is a wonderful success at both. In fact, this book will definitely be on my top books read in 2012 list. I was discussing the book with a friend, and we both agreed that this is not your typical romance book. In fact, we both felt that it is not really a romance book at all, but is instead a captivating love story. Being one of the best love stories that I have ever read, I cannot imagine a lot of other books overcoming it.

The characters in this book are superbly developed. Each one has a uniqueness that draws you into their lives and sweeps you along the story line. In fact, I cannot even pick out a favorite character from the book as I loved each and every one of them. The book is set in the 1960's along Lake Erie and focuses on one city where the majority of the residents are connected to the Great Lakes maritime trade. With the combination of her wonderful characters and the beautifully written prose in the book, Ms. Valentine not only makes her love story compelling, but makes the world of these people come alive for the reader. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:

"You can write down your dreams, make pictures of stars but that does not preserve the magic. Nothing captures those gorgeous glimmers of eternity. Yet love, like dreams and starlight, returns again and again in defiance of fears and foolishness"

"Perhaps, I think, it is our longing, and our willingness to see beauty in the most humble of places, that makes us so irresistible to God. "

I am now a steadfast fan of Ms. Valentine and look forward to reading more from her. If they are all as good as this one, I am certainly in for a treat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars engaging. emotional.January 25, 2012
This review is from: The Old Mermaid's Tale (Kindle Edition)
After reading two prior works by this author, the subject matter of the Great Lakes greatly interested me due to growing up near Lake Superior. The author engages the reader and pulls at heart strings as you come to empathize with each character. I couldnt put the book down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars BlissfulJanuary 22, 2012
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I didn't want this book to end. I loved the characters, the stories, the history, the mythology, the story. Engrossing, absorbing, enchanting and lovely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved itJanuary 3, 2012
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This review is from: The Old Mermaid's Tale (Kindle Edition)
Wonderful book I did not want to put it down, very interesting it made me want to visit the town. Great love story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale that captures the heartDecember 29, 2011
By 
Kiwi Tricia (Converse, San Antonio, TX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Old Mermaid's Tale (Kindle Edition)
The Old Mermaid's Tale by Kathleen Valentine is more than just a beautiful story that continues to capture my heart and imagination. After the first reading on Kindle, I was completely drawn into the characters, their time and the locale. I have read it again and again and finally jotted down dates, people's ages to know and understand them better, place names and the names of lost ships as told by the seamen in their tales about the Great Lakes to start web searches. Clair is of my era and could relate to her wanting `more than this' out of life. It is Baptiste though who is truly the unforgettable man but alas he is a fiction - I would still dearly like to know though who his book cover and video images are modeled on! As an aside, I am pretty sure I caught a reference in Each Angel Burns to Baptiste and his mother a scultor often called Madame L'perdue because her son ran away to sea and she never heard from him again. Anyway, the end result was hours spent reading about the Great Lakes, the waterfront towns, the cultural and economic changes over the past fifty-two years, Native American legends, and the very real shipwrecks. Web images of the 1960's through old photos and postcards were a delight to `visit' Lake Erie of a time now past. It is a unique book that generates that much follow-up interest in me. I have `worn out' my Kindle version from re-reading the story so many times and frequently play Ms. Valentine's video on her blog for The Old Mermaid's Tale featuring the song `Parlez-moi d'Amour' sung by Charlelie Couture. I now understand what other reviewers to include authors mean by the many layers to Ms. Valentine's writing. In fact, I have just ordered a printed copy to keep with my very favorite books because this tale has so enthralled me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, compelling writingDecember 28, 2011
By 
D. E. Taylor (Walnut Creek, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Old Mermaid's Tale (Kindle Edition)
There are two outstanding elements of this novel. The one that makes it most worth your time is the writing. This writer has managed to capture the essence of those quiet moments we all have, the compelling ones when you are sitting somewhere and what feels like a life-altering truth in all its simplicity explodes inside your being so profoundly you suddenly feel as if you have grasped the whole purpose of our existence if only for a moment. There are several of these in this novel, poetically written, and they alone are worth reading it for. The second reason to read this novel is the depth of the human characters which she has drawn so realistically you feel as if you have lived your life amongst them. One particular character has stayed with me long after reading- that of Baptiste. He is the man Clair falls in love with, the first great love of her life, perhaps the greatest as we don't get to see her whole life here (and something more is alluded to at the end.) Baptiste is a tortured soul, and as such he is compassionate and sensitive- and wise beyond his 42 years. He is generous and respectful, and wants more for Clair than she wants for herself. I was thrilled with how the author dealt with "twenty years later" because I can competely relate to where Clair was and believe I would've wanted the same. The men in this book- every last one- are portrayed with more heart and sensitivity than novels or the media typically portray men, which is a refreshing change. Clair does come across naive and annoying at times but she is young and can be forgiven her ignorance. Really, this book is excellent and anyone looking for a novel with heart should pick it up. It will surprise you! As a writer I read constantly and I only review the books that intrigue me. This one is worth your time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars You will not want to put this book downDecember 28, 2011
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This review is from: The Old Mermaid's Tale (Kindle Edition)
Having received a gift card for my Kindle as a Christmas gift, I was looking for a good sized novel, not just a short story, that would intrigue me so much that I would want to finish the book during my Christmas break, making that story a part of my Christmas 2011 memories. "The Old Mermaids Tale" exactly fits the bill. Even though I am only half way through the story, I am so engrossed in the story and the characters that I had to write my review while still in suspense of the ending. Due to her youth (the story begins when Clair is finishing high school and leaving home to go to college) there is much that Clair does not understand about herself and the world beyond the Ohio farmland where she was raised. Clair is different from her peers in that she feels drawn to making life choices based on an inner need to explore the unknown rather than make the same choices of her contemporaries, who are following the expected path of marrying someone from her home area and living the same lives as those around her in the farmlands. She is strangely compelled to experience the lives of fishermen and others whose livelihoods depend on the sea, and chooses to attend a college located near the northern edge of Lake Erie. Although the college has rules about coeds staying away from the lake front, Clair finds a tourist area coin-operated telescope that allows her to begin her exploration of this forbidden area from a distance. One day, during one her telescopic travels of the lake front area, she discovers a large painted mermaid with an inviting smile on the side of a building. Just as mermaids of lore drive sailors to explore the seas, Clair follows the lure of this painted mermaid and finds a way to personally explore the lake shore area and experience the lives of these people who live under the watchful eye of the painted mermaid. Reading about Clair's experiences as she enters this unknown world and meets the people who live there is fascinating. The book is well written and the author has the descriptive ability to enable the reader to envision the characters in the story that Clair meets and become just as caught up as Clair in their lives. Since my journey through the first half of this book has kept me so intrigued that I wanted to write a review before even finishing the story, I feel that "The Old Mermaid's Tale will not disappoint. I sense a promise that the remainder of this story and Clair's experiences with the people of the lake shore will keep me fascinated until the end, and that this book will leave a lasting impression of a story well told.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars I felt I was living this book as I read itDecember 14, 2011
By 
AmeliaAT "Apostrophistica" (Pennsylvania, Endless Mountains) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Old Mermaid's Tale (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book. It was a coming-of-age story of a young woman in the early sixties. Kathleen Valentine evokes so well all of the changes that the character, Clair, goes through in the years between preparing to leave her home for college and returning about five years later. She gives a nuanced view of the characters, even ones who don't have a lot of "page time," such as Clair's mother.

This book captures echoes of the love and loss that we all experience in our lives to such a degree that it felt real to me. I felt like I was reading about people whom I had known and grown up around. I became emotionally absorbed in the story.

Kathleen Valentine's writing is often subtle, saying a lot in very few words (the reference to "the Fitz" towards the end of the book had all kinds of implications for the reader that it couldn't for the characters -- yet), and many passages are beautiful.

It's hard to sum up this book in a review, except to say that it far exceeded my expectations and I know I will read it again.

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