Monday, October 13, 2014

The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford

About the book: 
The Sea House (St. Martin’s Press, April 2014)

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.

Purchase a copy:

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 Chinaand 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: websiteFacebook

Margie's Comments: I love stories that span the years, reaching into the history of an area to solve a contemporary puzzle or mystery. So when The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford came up for review, I requested a copy. And the story didn't disappoint. Starting out in today's world, Michael and Ruth are excited about their project to fix up this old, disused house for a family and a business. But when they find the bones of the mermaid child, Ruth can't leave the questions behind. The author's gentle storytelling voice drew me into the story, and I found it very difficult to put it down. Even when it got later and later at night. The author uses a blend of the past and present to tell a tale that is woven into the culture of the islands of Scotland. The masterful plotting, characterization, and storytelling have me looking forward to reading more from this author in the future. NOTE: This book was not written or published for a strictly Christian audience, so be aware that there are some instances of strong language. 

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