The summer of 1899 promises many changes for the Snow family when Reverend Snow is invited to fill in for the ill minister at a fancy seaside community on Mount Desert Island. This is a perfect stepping stone on Reverend Snow's climb to the position of bishop, and Mrs. Snow is giddy with excitement for the opportunity to rub elbows with the rich and famous. They would be invited to all the parties and, with some careful planning, could achieve a posh position in society for themselves. One part of this careful plan is to find Lucy a rich husband.
However, Lucy could care less about fancy parties, climbing the social ladder, and the frivolousness of the wealthy. She feels awkward and shy in social settings, and prefers to get lost in an exciting book or dive into her vivid watercolor paintings. She, too, is excited for the summer trip to Bar Harbor, but for a completely different reason --- she finally will have a chance to bond with the sea to which she is inexplicably drawn. The summer promises big changes in her life, though in ways she never could have imagined.
On one of their first social outings, Lucy and her mother are invited on a sailing trip. Mrs. Snow gets right to work on procuring a husband for her daughter, and tries to push Lucy towards the rich yacht owner's son. However, Lucy is drawn towards the handsome shipbuilder's son, Phin, who is piloting the yacht on her maiden voyage. A romance blossoms between them, but it must be kept secret as Phin is a craftsman, too low on the social ladder for Mrs. Snow's approval.
Meanwhile, Lucy discovers some incredible information about her own past and who she really is --- a mermaid! She even has two sisters living on the island named May and Hannah who are also Mer, and she finally feels like she belongs. Together, they try to uncover more clues about who they are and from where they came. But their investigations are interrupted when the visiting Duke of Crompton is mysteriously murdered.
Kathryn Lasky is the world-famous author of many books for young people, including the Guardians of Ga'Hoole volumes. Her limitless imagination and vast talents continue to offer many beautiful gems to the reading world, including the latest book in her Daughters of the Sea series. She pens LUCY in a classically elegant style, and includes many interesting details on shipbuilding, the sea, and how the rich lived their posh lives around the turn of the 20th century. She dives into many thorny themes, including racial discrimination, monetary and class prejudice, accepting someone for who she is, and the limited choices available to women during that time period.
LUCY is an enchanting story filled with magical discovery, a search for identity, romance, and a bit of intrigue; the cover art is lovely, too. This charming tale ends with multiple cliffhangers, hinting at and promising more to come with a possible fourth book in the series.
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman