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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Sea House...Review

About the book:
Scotland, 1860.

Reverend Alexander Ferguson, naive and newly-ordained, takes up his new parish, a poor, isolated patch on the Hebridean island of Harris. His time on the island will irrevocably change the course of his life, but the white house on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after Alexander departs. 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? Ruth needs to solve the mystery of her new home -- but the answers to her questions may lie in her own past.

Based on a real nineteenth-century letter to The Times in which a Scottish clergyman claimed to have seen a mermaid, The Sea House is an epic, sweeping tale of loss and love, hope and redemption, and how we heal ourselves with the stories we tell.

In 1992, Ruth and Michael have purchased the rundown Sea House on the island of Harris in the Hebrides with the hope of turning it into a Bed & Breakfast. During the renovations, they discover the remains of a baby whose legs are fused together. From appearance, a mermaid child.

Ruth, in an effort to overcome her own issues of abandonment and to find out what happened to the mermaid baby, begins researching the history of The Sea House and learns the story of Reverend Alexander Ferguson a newly ordained pastor, recently arrived on Harris.

Having always been told he was descended from the selkies or seal people, Alexander has had a lifelong fascination with mermaids. As the story alternates between 1860 and 1992, the novel bounces back and forth between Ruth's efforts to find out what happened to the mermaid child and Alexander's efforts to discover the truth behind the selkie/mermaid legend.

Historically, I was intrigued by the premise of The Sea House and Elisabeth Gifford has done an amazing job of blending legend with fact as well as addressing issues of PTSD and abandonment.

There were some complaints on this tour that the book contained profanity. I found two instances of the "F" word in only one sentence and it in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the novel.

A fascinating, compelling story.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Elisabeth Gifford here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 10/14

* * * *
4/5 Stars


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I picked it up after reading about in the Historical Novels Review and bought it, but yours is the first review I've read.

  2. I generally don't like supernatural but you've made this sound very compelling.

    1. The cool thing is that there is nothing supernatural about it! I thought there would be some magical realism, but there's not. It's very well done.

  3. Sometimes stories like this which sound mystical almost, have a very real story behind them. This sounds like one I would love to read.