Elisabeth Gifford’s debut novel is a story of loss and longing set in the wild isolation of the Outer Hebrides. Moving to the island of Harris to restore the Sea House, Ruth finds herself strugging to understand the truth about her past – and at the same time finds the house holds a shocking secret. She must uncover what really happened in the Sea House a century earlier if the house is ever to become the home she longs for.
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.
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.
I really couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book!
The synopsis sounded so mysterious and because I love tales of mermaids and other sea creatures….I put it at the top of my to-read list.
Let me tell you what I loved about this book- the prose is magnificent, the author is a fabulous writer…very poetic and flows wonderfully. I enjoyed the back and forth writing style and learning more of the history of the Sea House. It really had that cold, wintry, beach-feel.
The characters are engaging and easy to like. The story has a very mysterious quality and the author hits on some very deep issues.
There is some language and sensual scenes in the book, so be forewarned if that isn’t your cup of tea.
Would I read this again….probably not.
Do I regret reading it…no.
Would I recommend it….depends on the person.
This book is what I would categorize as general fiction, a genre I don’t typically read.
*****4/5 STARS- GIVE IT A TRY!!!*****