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.
I had mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the second half much more than I did the first. The book had both modern-day and historical aspects. To me, the historical story was more interesting. The writing was excellent all the way through; I just found the historical story more captivating. The setting (though it was the same in both contemporary and historical times) didn’t seem so dreary in the historical account.
There were two things that turned me off to this book: the use of profanity in one scene and the book’s pro-evolution slant. Reverend Ferguson, a Christian in the book, believes God used evolution to create the earth.
Even though the concept of evolution breaks multiple scientific laws, I understand why an atheist would want to believe in it. But I can’t comprehend why a Christian would try to make evolution fit with God and the Bible. It takes illogical and fantastic stretching of the written word to say the first two chapters of Genesis refer to evolution. If we can’t believe what the Bible says about God creating the universe in seven days (and yes, those are 24-hour days, not billions-of-years-long “days”), how can we believe what it says about salvation and forgiveness and grace and love? Why do we think it’s okay to pick and choose what we believe? Why believe any of the Bible if some of it is not true?
(I’ll get off my soapbox now.) :-)
All that being said, it is logical that someone who believes in evolution would be more likely to believe in sea people and mermaids (as Reverend Ferguson did throughout most of the book).
The ending of this book was great — it wrapped up nicely — and the story kept me guessing in several regards. I probably would have enjoyed the book more if it were purely historical, as I loved that story line. I’m sure many people will absolutely love this book in its entirety; it just wasn’t the best fit for me.
I give this book 3.5 stars.
Please know that ratings from 3.5 to 4.5 are good. I rarely rate a book a 5 as that wouldn’t leave a sufficient rating for those mind-blowingly great books that come along from time to time!
In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, please know that the publicist, on behalf of the author and publisher, has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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About the Author
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).
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