Fred the Mermaid by MJ Davidson

I just finished reading MaryJanice Davidson’s Fred the Mermaid series. I’ll report on each book, but my overall impressions are pretty much the same. The main character, Frederika, is a mermaid hybrid – human mother, merman father. In the novels, Fred is very anti-social. She would rather be alone and when she is forced into company with others, she can be a bit…blunt. I’m not a fan of this character at all. She’s not likeable and it feels like she whines more than anything. Fred is very much a different character than Betsy Taylor and it’s not necessarily a good thing.

The one thing I do like is the supporting cast. Freds’ best friend, Jonas, is a very secure in his masculinity male who sometimes comes off as being gay. She works for an aquarium with a boss, Dr. Barb, who ends up dating Jonas. Fred is introduced to two men – Thomas, a fellow marine biologist/romance writer, and Artur, prince of the Undersea Folk (aka merpeople). Both of these men have decided that Fred is THE ONE for them (how I’m not sure) and their competition to gain her affections is amusing.

Sleeping with the Fishes
The overall story was good. The plot involved a very familiar global concern, yet Davidson added a twist to it that made it fun to read about. The story never became slow and it kept me interested enough to continue reading. Personally, the Betsy Taylor series is far better, but this wasn’t a bad contribution by Davidson either. I would recommend it.

Swimming Without a Net
This book seemed like societal development more than an interesting plot line. We learn more about the merpeople, especially Fred’s father, and nothing else really happens. The story is good, but if you’re looking for some kind of conflict, then I wouldn’t recommend Swimming Without a Net. However, if you’re looking for a good read, then picking up this book wouldn’t be a bad choice.

Overall, the series is good, but I’m not sold on it yet. At least, not enough to go out and buy the series. I’ll wait to see if there is going to be a third novel, which I assume there will be. Even after the second book, Fred still comes off as a little whiney and not that interesting. I was definitely more interested in the supporting cast (including the new merpeople characters) than reading about Fred.

Read Order:
Sleeping with the Fishes
Swimming Without a Net
Fish Out of Water

Also reviewed by:
Jennifer’s review at Literary Escapism
Reading Adventures

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. There is a 3rd book coming out near to Christmas. I can’t remember the name now but I am sure it is already up on Amazon for pre-order.

    I do like this series but Davidson hasn’t managed anything as good as Betsy yet!

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