Genre: Inspirational Romance
Subgenre: clean read, fantasy, Christian
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
What do you get when you cross the Little Mermaid with the Gospels? Well, you could get MaryLu Tyndall’s Tears of the Sea.
I’m giving this one four stars. Not because it’s a great story, even though it is. Not because it’s well-written, although it’s that, too. But because this is the kind of quirky romance that appeals to me. I am also a big fan of Biblically inspired stories. (Paradise Lost, The Man Born to Be King, Chronicles of Narnia, etc.)
Quick side note: I am purposefully writing this review before I read any reviews written by other readers. I suspect there will be more than a few naysayers who object to Jesus’ story being used in another context.
What I liked
The main characters are wonderfully written. The heroine (she’s a mermaid, by the way) is by no means perfect. She pretty much embodies the sinner in all of us, driven to all sorts of self-destructive as well as other-destructive actions by circumstances and self-doubt. The hero, being the Christ-figure, is somewhat more upright, but Tyndall shows that he is tempted by worldly things just as any other man would be.
I also love the way she portrayed the hero’s followers. They are devoted, yet often doubting, timid, and somewhat self-serving. Just like the real Apostles of Jesus.
I also like that the setting is NOT Earth, even though it is Earth-like. Ms. Tyndall does not seem to be trying to rewrite the story of Jesus. She is only using it as character and story inspiration.
What I didn’t care for
There wasn’t anything I really disliked about this book, but if I had to choose something that detracted for me it was that the evil people were entirely too evil. No one on that side, other than the heroine, was redeemable. Plus, the hero went about saving people from the bad guys, but after humbly brushing aside their hero-worship, everyone went about their business as usual.
I probably would have liked the story a touch more if it had deviated a little more from the Bible, especially since our Christ-figure hero is forming a single bond between himself and a human (well, almost-human) woman. Even so, the author does a good job of explaining the symbolism in a companion blog post. Certain events, such as the loaves and fishes retelling, made it a little too obvious. I’d rather have been left looking for clues as to the similarities between the events of this story and the Bible.
OK, now I’m going to see what other reviewers wrote….
I’m back. Not too bad. Right now, Tears of the Sea sits at 4.6 stars on Amazon, so the great reviews far outweigh the negative. There was only one mention of blasphemous, but they said the same thing about C.S. Lewis, so Ms. Tyndall’s in good company.