One of my favorite authors (and no, I'm not her editor!) is Michael Lee West.
I've always loved her women who are on the edge of nervous breakdowns who also always persevere through whatever life throws at them. Her latest novel, MERMAIDS IN THE BASEMENT, is just one of those books.
The title comes from a poem by Emily Dickinson. Here's the first stanza, which I am fervently hoping is in the public domain!
And visited the Sea --
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me --
The idea of mermaids in the basement completely charms me. In fact, the idea of mermaids anywhere charms me. However, the thought that lonely sailors may have mistaken manatees for mermaids completely mistifies me. I have seen manatees; they are awfully cute in their way, but you must have been a sea a VERY long time to think that one of these is a beautiful woman.
One place where you can see real live mermaids is Weeki Wachee Springs. When you visit, you are returning to a more innocent time--a time well before Disney Land. You really have to leave your videogame sensitiblities at the door.
During a recent trip, the mermaids took off their tails to perform one of their routines, and a little girl behind me cried out sorrowfully, "They have LEGS??" "No honey," said her dad. "These are ballet dancers who help the mermaids out." She seemed perfectly happy at that answer. And, so was I.