Courtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
Alice Riley has always been different from everyone else. She has special abilities and traits she needs to keep secret, for no one from her small town in Georgia could ever understand. She has unusual webbed toes and hair which grows exceptionally fact, requiring cutting every day. In addition, she is an incredible swimmer, extremely fast, able to "sing" underwater similar to what dolphins do, to see her way, and she is able to breathe underwater for hours at a time.
Alice never knew her parents, her mother dying when Alice was a baby and never knowing whom the father was. Her aunt raised her and hated her, considering Alice a freak of nature, as did the entire town. She had been good at keeping her special talents secret, until now, when two things happened. She had a vision of a man dying in a scuba diving accident and rescues him from across the ocean, with only her mind. The very same day, Alice rescued the Governor's granddaughter from drowning after hearing the child fall in the lake, from several miles away.
Griffin Randolph is a professional treasure hunter. He is in Spain working a job, when one of his men gets trapped in the debris of a WWII ship, still holding live ammunition. He gets his friend free but is caught in an explosion as he is leaving the ship, almost dying. The only thing that kept him alive was a vision of a beautiful woman, known only as Alice, who tells him to breathe underwater.
Lilith Bonavendier reads in the paper of the rescue of the young child, realizing Alice is her long lost half-sister, thought to have died at birth. Lilith and her other two sisters, Pearl and Mara go after Alice to bring her back to the family home at Sainte's Point Island, off the coast of Georgia. Now Alice finds out about her legacy, learning she is descended from one of the Old Ones, ancient Water People, commonly known as mermaids.
Griffin, it turns out, is a distant cousin, also one of the Water People, who returns home to prove that the Bonavendier sisters killed his parents 25 years ago. Long buried secrets must now be revealed, if everyone is to be happy and Griffin and Alice are to be together.
This was a delightful story and the beginning of what is sure to be a wonderful series by Ms. Smith. One feels Alice's pain at how she is treated by her aunt and the people of her town. All she cares about is being left alone after years of abuse from everyone. Her shock at finding her family she never knew existed is well portrayed, as is her adaptation to her new lifestyle. Lilith and her sisters are exotic and fascinating, loved by almost everyone who comes in contact with them. The history of the merpeople that is used by Ms. Smith is different from past stories used and is fascinating. One can almost believe they are real. And who says they aren't?
There is one thing about the book that can be a problem, though. The switching back and forth between first person and third person storytelling is disconcerting and confusing. It is apparent, the reason behind that is to have the story told completely from Alice's point of view, but there are a few scenes that don't fit with what appears to by the idea of the author. There are a few scenes that should have been told in first person perspective but aren't, based on the way the rest of the book is written. That tended to knock this reviewer out of the story, making it difficult to get back into the correct stream for reading.