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Friday, October 10, 2014

The Sea House

Sometimes in searching for the truth behind the legends we have read about we find more than we bargained for. In the debut novel, The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford, the reader is tossed between the past and the present surrounding those who have made the Sea House, their home. For Ruth and Michael a newly married couple just starting their new lives together, they dream of restoring this old home into a Bed and Breakfast nestled high above the ever present crashing Scottish sea. While they are in the process of removing the old floorboard, they discover a secret that has been buried beneath the house for more than a century. A small wooden box that bears the skeletal remains of what appears to be a child with fused together legs that leads Michael and Ruth to believe they have discovered what could be a mermaid child.

The image and knowledge lodge into Ruth's mind to uncover just who this child was and why was it buried beneath the Sea House. What stories are waiting to be told. It seems that as Ruth is going through the research on the child, she finds herself drawn very much into the parallel life of the child and her own missing family. The only knowledge Ruth has of her own family, is that her mother drowned one night leaving her to spend her childhood years being shuttled from foster home to foster home. Never knowing who her father was, Ruth can identify with the child she has discovered beneath her home. Perhaps in a way, if she can uncover who this child is, she can put to rest the haunting of her own past of not knowing where she came from as well.

What she learns takes her back to 1860 where she learns the Sea House belonged to Reverend Alexander Ferguson, the vicar for the small town in the Hebrides Islands of Scotland. The Reverend believed in the legends of sea people called Selkies, that his family originated from but there is no physical proof that has been discovered to prove the stories as true or simply the legends of the past. So he begins his own search looking for proof among the lives of the people who live among the island. He finds himself faced with his own personal dilemmas when his faithful maid, Moira faces the eviction of her own family under the land they live on owned by Lord Marstone. Since they are unable to make a living on what they can farm there because of the poor soil and harsh terrain, they are forced to buy food from Marstone. When he comes calling upon their payment of debts and they have no way to pay, he forces them to flee aboard a ship and takes what meager possessions of theirs as payment and burns the homes to the ground. 

I received The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford compliments of St. Martin's Press and Litfuse Publicity as a free copy for my honest review. I did not recieve any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I have to applaud Ms. Gifford on her first novel. This is truly the stuff you would expect to find when you read an exceptional novel. The writing style reflects both the language and dialog of the past and present in Scotland so it feels authentic. The setting and rich details of both the historic past and contemporary present are so well written, you can feel the salt air on your face, and hear the crashing waves on the rocks below the Sea House. It truly draws the reader in for something unexpected much like searching for mermaid legends and instead you find the truth you've been searching for all along. 

The characters are well written and I would have liked to have known a bit more about the history behind Lord Marstone a bit more than I got. Readers should be warned that there is some profanity in this one, but these are based on cultural differences between the literature in the US versus that of the UK as I've been told. It doesn't distract from the story in any way. This was truly had me captivated much like Ruth's character as she began to unravel the smallest details bit by bit. I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and look forward to more novels from her in the future. 

For more information about The Sea House, Elisabeth Gifford, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below. 

You can also find Elisabeth Gifford on Facebook to stay up to date with her latest novels. 

To read more reviews on The Sea House please visit Litfuse Publicity's book tour page. 

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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