The Lure of Shapinsay

First Lines: The men of the village were bumptious idiots.  This is what I concluded.  They could not see that their greedy nature soured my trade as well as the delicate taste of my eggs.

I was asked by the author to read and review this, so bear with me while I get all my thoughts in order.  I only finished this twenty minutes ago…and I proceeded to jump onto Facebook…such is the life of a college student.

Set in Scotland in the mid-1800s, Kait Swanney lives with her twin brother Blair after their parents died.  Blair wants Kait to settle down and marry someone, but Kait isn’t ready yet.  Not until she meets an alluring selkie from the sea.  Selkies are said to be so beautiful, women willing drown themselves to be with them.  The selkie Kait meets is full of mysteries that Kait wants to crack.  But she’s expressly forbidden to see the selkie in case he were to drag her into the sea with him one dark night…

Ok.  So I’d never read anything about selkies before.  I don’t know about you, but they seemed almost like evil mermaids to me.  Merpeople, maybe I should say, unless “mermaids” is gender-neutral.  Whatever.

Anyway, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.  Kait started out as such as strong female character, fighting with the men who tried to dictate her life.  Then, after she met Eamon (the selkie.  She named him), she turned into a simpering pansy.  Everything was about him and what she could do to make him happy.  What kind of message is this sending to girls?  I mean, I realize that with love comes some concessions in this regard, but it was almost like a 180 of Kait’s character.  In fact, I think at some point I stopped trusting Kait as a character.  She became obsessed with the selkies because of this thing called “The Lure”.  Now, The Lure is this almost super power of selkie men that makes women fall deeply in love with them with just some eye contact.  I saw it as an enchantment and none of Kait’s insistence that she truly and really loved Eamon was going to change that with me.  Let’s think about this: if someone cast a spell on you so that you would love them, how would you be able to tell how much of that feeling was genuine or manufactured?  I just don’t think Kait could tell the difference between the two, even though she insisted she could.

In the middle of the book until quite close to the end, I felt like the plot just dropped out.  It got us about 40% of the way into the book and then it was just…crawling.  There seemed to be very very little to keep the book progressing at that point.  Just because you continue the story of someone’s mundane life does not mean there is a plot.

Oddly enough, I was off-put by the colloquialisms as well.  Normally, that doesn’t happen, but some of them I just couldn’t understand or didn’t like.  The constant phrase “Dinnae fash” came up all the time.  “Dinnae” is their way (I think) of saying “Do not”, but I could never for the life of me figure out “fash”.  Also, I was borderline offended by Eamon constantly referring to sex as “humping”.  As in, “Let’s go hump by these rocks.”  It just rankled me.  I would have preferred if he had just said, “Let’s have sex by these rocks.”  I have no idea why, but I would have been way more comfortable with that.

The story did have its positives as well.  A character by the name of Tipper was very intriguing.  The poor old woman seemed to be crazy and had nothing going for her for a long time, yet she has quite the story.  I suppose most old people do, though.  And there’s an alternating narrating perspective between Kait and Eamon, which you know I eat right up.  What’s better than getting inside the head of more than one character?  A fresh brownie, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make.  The point is, it was nice to understand the motives behind actions with both of them rather than trying to understand selkie lore from only Kait’s perspective.


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