Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Sea House - by Elisabeth Gifford

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.

My review:  This story caught my interest because of the unique subject of a mermaid child, but it took too long to find out the truth behind the baby's origins and about Ruth's mother.  I would have liked there to be more happening in the story to move it along.  I liked that the story moved back and forth in time.  I really felt for Ruth and the hard childhood she had and I'm glad that it wasn't graphic or dwelt on too much, and that there was a feeling of hope.  I really didn't like that the reverend believed in Darwin's theory and was trying to prove it.  He seemed to have a hero worship for the man and the things I've read say that he wasn't a nice person, so I didn't like this rosy view of the man.  I'm also surprised that he was so willing to believe in the theory of evolution.  I liked that the reverend was shown as human, with human failings.  There was some language in the book, including the f word, which I really didn't appreciate for a book from a Christian author, though this isn't a Christian publisher.  I'm fine with saying a character swore and I feel that should be as far as it goes; I can use my imagination and don't need it spelled out.  There was also some sexuality/nudity that was stopped almost immediately and was important to the plot.  There wasn't much to the Christian message.  Overall, the story was okay, and if the subject really interests you, you might like it.

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Author: 

Elisabeth Gifford grew up in a vicarage in the industrial Midlands. She studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University. She is the author of The House of Hope: A Story of God's Love and Provision for the Abandoned Orphans of China and has written articles for The Times and the Independent and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford OUDCE and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway College. She is married with three children. They live in Kingston on Thames but spend as much time as possible in the Hebrides.

Find Elisabeth online: website, Facebook

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).

Celebrate with Elisabeth by entering her Kindle giveaway!
E.Gifford, The Sea House 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.

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