Silencing the Siren ~ Sodbuster Review on a Little Mermaid Retelling

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Barela’s debut novel combines mystery, the roaring 20’s, and fairy-tale retelling.

From the opening of our tale, we are sucked in and pulled immediately into the mystery. Where did Annabel disappear too and is she really dead?

This story goes into a lot of deeper things than just a fairy-tale romance, and there is plenty of that! We have our main character, Annabel, with a disability, who is on display at the freak show in Coney Island. We have Andrew who is the son of a prestigious family and trying to find his purpose in life. They both live very different lives and yet the one that should be most “miserable” ends up giving Andrew a whole new perspective on life.

But someone is out there to destroy the happiness of this couple, and it may not end with a happily-ever-after… or will it?

This is Barela’s debut novel and for a short story, which in my opinion is one of the hardest to do well, it was done fairly well. It did feel a bit disconnected at times and it does have a YA writing style. It had an insta-love beginning which generally bothers me, but I think Barela did well in creating an infatuation that grew in each scene. Barela definitely brought up the plight of many that just don’t feel like they fit in and made it work for not only someone with a visible disability but you could even see it in our main character who matures and realizes that there is more to life than money and name. It was written very much like a fairy tale and a bit of Grace Livingston Hill vibes.

I would give this a 3.5- 3.75 stars and I really can’t wait to see more from this author!

About the Book

Book: Silencing the Siren

Author: Denise L. Barela

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale

Release date: January 4, 2022

Silencing-the-Siren-663x1024Andrew Grayson thought he had everything… until he met her.

The indulged son of wealthy parents, Andrew has always gotten whatever he wanted almost before he knew he wanted it—clothes, gadgets… even a car! What more could a young man desire?

Enter Annabel Thompson. Freakshow mermaid extraordinaire… in a wheelchair!

Of course, her beauty attracts him. How could it not? Add to that a kind heart, and Andrew can’t help but fall for her.

Annabel’s connection with the freakshow repels his parents and their society friends. They want him to sever all ties with her and his new friends. Oh, and marry the “right” girl with the “right connections.” But he won’t do it. He’ll defy them and marry his little mermaid.

When Annabel turns up missing, declared dead, things don’t add up, Andrew begins asking some difficult questions, the most important being, “What happened to the little mermaid of the Coney Island freak show?”

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. Silencing the Siren offers a retelling of “The Little Mermaid” that will keep you gripped to the edge of your seat as you watch the story unfold.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Barela_Denise_HeadshotDenise Barela’s passion for fiction, her faith, and general creativity define her life. In all things, she strives to glorify God, though especially in and through her writing. She has spent the past six years working for a publicity company and five years working as the head editor for a publishing company. With an MFA in Creative Writing and a Professional Writing certificate, Denise enjoys using her education and work experiences to help authors achieve their own writing dreams. When she’s not working away at her desk, you might find her reading a good book or following Alice down the rabbit hole…


More from Denise

Hello Readers!

I’m so excited to share Silencing the Siren with you! This book was so much fun to write and research. I learned so many fun facts about old cars, old New York, and even doorbells!

Yes, you read that correctly. Doorbells.

These noisy items were such a novelty in the 1920s that they were often given as Christmas gifts!

Crazy, right?

I wanted both Andrew and Annabel to represent that feeling we have all experienced at least once in our lives. That feeling of not belonging. It looks different for each person, but it’s a uniting feeling.

Annabel will never be accepted by those outside her family, but they more than make up for that. Andrew is popular and well-off in society, but as he comes to know the Lord, he starts to feel that rift with his superficial friends and family. It’s with other believers, Annabel’s family, that he finds that deep relationship he desires. They are more than willing to provide.

This is the beauty of the body of Christ. When we are sick or in need, the body of Christ comes together to support you in that time of need and extend Christ’s love to all corners of the globe.

I hope you enjoy reading Silencing the Siren as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 7

A Baker’s Perspective, February 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 9

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, February 9 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, February 10

Genesis 5020, February 10

Inklings and notions, February 11

Connect in Fiction, February 11

For Him and My Family, February 12

Blossoms and Blessings, February 12

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 13

deb’s Book Review, February 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 14

For the Love of Literature, February 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 15

Blogging With Carol, February 15

Connie’s History Classroom, February 16

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, February 17 (Spotlight)

Sodbuster Living, February 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, February 18

Austen’s Angle, February 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 19

Simple Harvest Reads, February 19 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Back Porch Reads, February 20

Through the Fire blogs, February 20


To celebrate her tour, Denise is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

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