Title: The Sea House
Author: Elisabeth Gifford
Age Group: Adult
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review--thanks, Elisabeth!
This was the first book I ever requested from an author, and I'll admit here that I asked for a lot of books all at once and got overwhelmed, and have been spending months trying to catch up. (I know, I know, I have a problem. And it's bad.) I had trouble getting into this book at first--it was hard going. I've tried several times to read it, and finally I made myself sit down and read it. And I'm so glad I did.
Elisabeth Gifford tells a story that goes across multiple generations, beautifully and skillfully; first of Ruth, the young woman who is struggling to come to terms with an unhappy childhood and dark past, navigating her marriage. But when she comes across a child's remains in the new house she buys with her husband, Michael, she finds that it brings up ghosts she'd rather not disturb. Still, the prospect of finding out what happened to the baby remains too much to resist, and in doing so, she begins to sift through her past.
We are also brought to 1862, the same house--The Sea House--and introduced to Alexander Ferguson, a young reverend who tries to do his best to stay true to God, and his religious calling. Moira, his maid, is an uneducated Gaelic girl, and she begins to fall in love with him, even as Alexander is nearly driven mad in his quest to find the elusive selkies from his family's stories.
This book was just beautiful. I really, really enjoyed it. The journey of Ruth, trying to make peace with her past, and Alexander's, a mad journey to find the elusive seapeople--I really enjoyed the way the two narratives intertwined, and all the characters, especially Ruth, were relatable and human. This book was undeniably dark, but it was done in such a fantastic way. A great debut from a promising author, I'm looking forward to more from her! The bottom line: A dark, yet cathartic debut from a promising talent, The Sea House is a great debut, shimmering with wisdom and self-discovery! Next on deck: Pretty in Black by Rae Hachton!