In 1860, Alexander Ferguson, a newly ordained vicar and amateur evolutionary scientist, takes up his new parish, a poor, isolated patch on the remote Scottish island of Harris. He hopes to uncover the truth behind the legend of the selkies—mermaids or seal people who have been sighted off the north of Scotland for centuries. He has a more personal motive, too; family legend states that Alexander is descended from seal men. As he struggles to be the good pastor he was called to be, his maid Moira faces the terrible eviction of her family by Lord Marstone, whose family owns the island. Their time on the island will irrevocably change the course of both their lives, but the white house on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after they are gone.
It will be more than a century before the Sea House reluctantly gives up its secrets. Ruth and Michael buy the grand but dilapidated building and begin to turn it into a home for the family they hope to have. Their dreams are marred by a shocking discovery. The tiny bones of a baby are buried beneath the house; the child’s fragile legs are fused together—a mermaid child. Who buried the bones? And why? To heal her own demons, Ruth feels she must discover the secrets of her new home—but the answers to her questions may lie in her own traumatic past. The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford is a sweeping tale of hope and redemption and a study of how we heal ourselves by discovering our histories.
Many novels come straight out of the author’s imagination. It is clearly evident that Gifford spent a lot of time and effort researching this novel. I found the facts she did include fascinating, serving to enrich the story and teach us more about the people and lands that surrounded The Sea House.
I did feel that the story started out a bit slowly; it took me a few chapters to get invested in the story. I have to admit that for much of the book, I don’t particularly like Ruth. I don’t know if it’s just a part of her character, as she seems to be taken similarly while she is in foster and group homes as a child, or if it’s just how I interpret her personality.
I feel I learned a lot about native Scots. I really didn’t know much before reading but learned about their parties, their traditions, how they lived and the divide between the rich and the poor. I like a little history with my fiction and The Sea House fit the bill perfectly.
I do feel that Gifford rushed to tie up some loose ends at the end of the book. It’s almost like she was told to wrap up the story in less pages. I wish I had learned more about how The Sea House grew as a business and how Ruth and Michael grow as a couple and family. The epilogue helped answer some questions, but still left me feeling a bit unfulfilled.
THE SEA HOUSE Kindle Fire Giveaway from Elisabeth Gifford
Don’t miss The Sea House, a stunning fiction debut from the UK. Set in a house on the windswept coast of the Outer Hebrides, Elisabeth Gifford’s haunting tale effortlessly bridges a gap of more than a century. Adeptly interweaving two tales involving residents of the titular house, Gifford sets up an absorbing mystery revolving around local lore and myths about mermaids, selkies, and sealmen. Stretching seamlessly back and forth through time, layers upon layers of secrets are slowly and effectively peeled away in this evocative debut (Booklist).
One grand prize winner will receive:
- A Kindle Fire
- The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at Elisabeth’s Blog.