Author: Krista Holle
Publisher: Sweet River Romance
Released: December 16th 2011
Pages: 260 (ebook)
Ever since Kait Swanney could remember, the old crones of the village have been warning her to stay away from the selkies. They claim that like sirens of old, the seal men creep from the inky waters, shed their skins, and entice women to their deaths beneath the North Sea. But avoiding an encounter becomes impossible when Kait is spotted at the water’s edge, moments after the murder of a half-selkie infant.
Unexpectedly, Kait is awoken by a beautiful, selkie man seeking revenge. After she declares her innocence, the intruder darts into the night, but not before inadvertently bewitching her with an overpowering lure.
As soon as Holle contacted me and asked if I'd like to read this in exchange for an honest review, I was instantly keen. I've always been a huge fan of fantasy novels, and considering I'd never heard of selkies before, I was intrigued But now that I've finished the book, I have to admit that I am so torn about what to write about this book and what to rate it as! On one hand, I adored the flow of the story, but on the other, I just...didn't click with it.
The Lure of Shapinsay is set on a remote island called Shapinsay - never would have guessed it, huh? The main heroine is Kait Swanney, one of the most stubborn and independent characters you will ever meet. In a misunderstanding, a selkie male seeks to kill her, to avenge the death of a new-born baby - however, proving she is innocent, he leaves, but not before she a sort of spell is cast over her, which causes her to fall obsessively in love with him.
I guess I've got to explain selkies. To be honest, even now that I've finished the book, I don't really have a clue what they are. That's my first complaint - the island, the people, the houses, the sea...it was all described in much more depths than the selkie they are based around. But from what I could grasp, there are humans, and there are pure selkies - an almost seal-whale-like creature. Then, there are selkies that are also human - as in, they have a completely human body and a skin - a cloak-like creation that when put around their owner molds perfectly to their body shape. And once they dive under the water? The skin comes up and covers their head, evolving them into a selkie. And then once they move back onto dry land, the skin comes loose and drapes down back into a cloak. I don't know whether this is what Holle meant to put across, but that's what I got. I found the overall concept interesting, and definitely unique, and I thought that it was portrayed well and thoroughly.
I was also fond of the characters. As I said earlier, Kait was headstrong and, at first, incredibly likable; Blair was sweet, and Holle portrayed that big-brotherly character perfectly; Eamon was sexy and aggressive, a total heartthrob Whilst Kait did become incredibly annoying and pathetic as Eamon's lure over her increased, I did think her obsessive nature was well-characterized. The change in her was so believable, it did make me think that on a secluded island somewhere, way back in history, this could have been possible.
However, the problem I had with this novel was the language. It was well-written and had great descriptions, but I just didn't connect with the accents, which I think were Scottish. It seems a silly thing to complain about, but it did grind on me, wearing me down until I found it difficult to read. The story was easy to follow, but the language just got on my nerves.
And last but not least, the actual plot. I have to say, it was quite good. To begin with I did find it boring. But as soon as Eamon entered the scene, the whole novel really perked up - especially at the ending! I think the ending may have gained the novel another star, in my opinion anyway. It was probably silly that I didn't see any of the ending coming - but I'm glad of that, since it was such a nice surprise! I'm not much for a romance story, but it was a pretty cute ending, I must admit.
Overall, I loved the plot, the characters, the historical aspect of it - but the language just didn't sit well with me. Personally, I found the language made it more difficult to read, as well as less-interesting. I know that the accent use was part of the historical background of the whole novel and of Shapinsay, but I just...no. It was because of that that the book took me two months of part-time reading to finish. If you like unique fantasy novels, then you'll love this. But if you like an action-packed story, steer clear for this read, I think! It's a lovely tale, however, and it was nice to read a novel that ended with genuine true love.