A book based on a real letter to the New York Times from a nineteenth-century clergyman who claims he saw a mermaid is just too intriguing to pass up. The recommendation came from LitFuse, which always sends me wonderfully inspiring titles centered around faith, but the tone of the book synopsis stood out from the usual Christian Fiction lingo. We were set to embark on a 3 week vacation road trip and I knew I’d want a couple good novels, so I agreed to give this one a chance.
My first impressions of the book were, “mermaids, seal people, and ghosts? Going to be interesting to see where faith comes into play here!!” and “Darn it, I wish I had a British colloquial dictionary/phrase book or at least Google search in this rental car!!!” :)
The book is set in the Hebrides off of Scotland and the author is English, so there were quite a few terms that I had to figure out contextually. Thankfully, I know a “torch” is a flashlight (Narnia!), but it took half a page to deduce that “plasters” are bandages. I had to guess at what a “bothy” is and sheepishly look it up when we came back from our trip.
The language and the fantastical elements serve to make this book quite immersive. It’s not a fantasy, by any means, but Gifford paints a vivid picture of the setting and characters. It was a very quick read for me because I needed to know how things turned out for everyone. There were no dull or un-engaging sections, maybe partially because the story jumps back and forth between the 1860s and 1990s.
And the faith element, while not overt, was realistic and thought-provoking. I appreciated its subtle weaving throughout the lives of the characters. Not the Christian fiction you are used to, but give it a try!
Trigger Warning: Take caution if you are very sensitive to the themes of parent or child loss, depression/anxiety, or abuse. All are included with purpose and there is a strong overall theme of redemption that makes them worth it, but know yourself.
About the Book
About the Author
Celebrate with Elisabeth by entering her Kindle giveaway!
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.