Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review- The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

The Lure of Shapinsay
Krista Holle
Coming out in Paperback in June

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. 

Kait obsesses over a reunion deep beneath the bay and risks her own life to be reunited with her selkie. But when she lands the dangerous lover, the chaos that follows leaves Kait little time to wonder—is it love setting her on fire or has she simply been lured?

The people of Shapinsay are very superstitious. They worship the old gods. They have a doctor to cure one from fae curses and make amulets and potions and other wards to keep the fairies from invading their homes. And they leave the selkies alone. For fear of retribution. For fear that the men will lure the women to their watery graves in the sea. Already the men outnumber the women three to one on the desolate island in the North Seas.  So when Kait's best friend gives birth to a babe that is part selkie, her father drowns the baby in the harbour.  Kait, in a race to save the babe for her friend rushes after him only to find him carrying empty blankets. She sticks her face into the water looking for the baby trying to  think how long it could be underwater for her to be able to save him. But unbeknown to her, the selkies are watching from below. They've discovered the half selkie baby dead. And one selkie male is angered by it, angered enough to seek revenge.  He doesn't know his anger is mislaid.  He visits the island several nights killing newborn lambs and his footprints can be seen in Kait's and her brother Blair's garden.

But one night, Kait is awakened by the selkie man and she is bewitched by him despite the fact that he wants to kill her.  She explains about the baby though she doesn't tell him who did it.  He visits her again and she searches him out as she swims in the ocean often.  Her brother thinks she's gone crazy when she tells him about the selkie (she probably should have kept quiet) and he is determined to marry her off to Magnus a man twice her age and who seems to be a hulking giant.  And according to Kait he wears two days or maybe three days worth of meals in his beard.  Handsome, right?  But her selkie, whom she names Eamon, has long black silky hair that flows down his back and smooth skin (no mention of a beard).  And he is totally swoon worthy.  And he is very strong. He takes Magnus on who is twice his side.

Now, I'll stop with the story and tell you about Kait. She is strongly opinionated and even before she met the selkie, she had no intention of marrying Magnus.  She also was not going to leave her beloved home to live with her brother on the mainland with him and his new wife, Sloane.  She also felt very bad for her friend Astrid and the loss of her child. She hushed the old crones that were talking about her and the baby and resented the fact that the men would pay her less for her eggs than if her brother had been selling them.  So she was a feminist born well before her time. She is someone I would very much have like had I known her. She never complained about chores or doing work .  Blair, her brother, was trying to make sure someone was there to take care of her when he left, but it felt more like he wanted to be able to wash his hands of her when he left.  And he never asked nor cared who she wanted to marry. Not cool Blair, not cool.  Eamon, ah Eamon.  What's there to say....I can't say anything without spoiling the story.

Now, the language, this is Scotland and it's got some colloquial language in it. My Kindle was able to define some things, some not. But most of it was pretty self explanatory.  Some of it was fun. I'm taking up using "pampooties" in my household.  You'll have to look it up or read the book.  The story worked great set in this time period. Everything made sense because of all the superstition and the way women were treated like property.  This story wouldn't have worked set in today's world.  And the beauty of the setting, an island completely surrounded by water, verdant green and almost devoid of trees. You did watch the trailer right?  It's here in case you missed it.

I LOVED this novel. It was hauntingly beautiful in it's setting. I felt like I was right there with Kait and Eamon and as desperate as Kait was I'd have done anything, like she did.  It was a beautiful love story.  There is sex in it but it is not described at all and the words used are very basic.  Men will always be men.
As far as I know, there wasn't any bad language, but then I don't know old time bad language in Scottish. So you could have fooled me!  The author tells me this is a new genre called "New Adult".  Just the thing I've been looking for to bridge the gap between YA and Adult. So welcome to the world of New Adult though I think older Young Adults (15 and up) could handle this book easily. Nothing is graphic.

If you love merpeople/selkies/sirens this is an absolute must read!  I can't wait to read something else from this author!
I received a free copy of this novel from this author for review. This in no way influenced my opinion of this novel.



  1. One thing that always amazes me about you is that you find books I have never heard before. Even more you make me add books to my pile constantly!!!!! Bad Girl!
    I love Scotland and although I have never been there, I love the mystery and lore surrounding this country. Beautiful Review, thanks hon!

    1. You do the same thing so right back at ya! I love Scotland despite never having been there. One day....

  2. I just think this is so original in making the men as selkies. I need to read it just to find out about pampooties. :)

  3. I've never heard of men as selkies before! That alone has piqued my interest. The characters sound interesting. I think I'll look this one up. Thanks for bring it to my attention, Heather!

    1. You do the same for me daily Rummanah. I may have to start charging you for that so I can read all these books! LOL I know, I know, there's a library, but unfortunately ours is very small and many times reek so badly of smoke that I cannot stand to bring them home.
      Isn't that terrible??

  4. Well you know this is already on my TBR list! It was great to read your review :-) I will be getting this when it comes out in PB :-)

    1. Oh and the bookmarks and bookplate are absolutely beautiful. Especially if you like Celtic designs. They came very quickly.

  5. This one sounds interesting, but I must admit I was turned off by the cover. Kinda creeped out by it actually, lol! However the story sounds interesting and I looooove Scotland!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

    1. Oh, I love him! But he's supposed to have very pale almost pearly skin and super long hair. But I love him!
      Different tastes right?!


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