Monday, February 20, 2017

The Selkie Bride - Melanie Jackson (Sea Fey #1)

The Selkie Bride (Sea Fey Prequel)I read this book for the Unapologetic Romance Readers 2017 Reading Challenge.  Specifically, I read it for the Shapeshifter/Werewolf Romance category.  While werewolf romances are easy, I'd already read a romance involving werewolves for the Paranormal Romance category, and I wanted to do something a little different for this.  So I went for The Selkie Bride, in which the hero, Lachlan, is a selkie.  For those not familiar with selkies, they're a type of fantasy creature that can wear a sealskin to transform into the shape of a seal, and they hide the skins when they go ashore in their human shapes.

Our heroine is Megan Culbin, recently widowed and broke due to the debts her husband left behind.  With very little to her name, Megan moves to Scotland to the cabin of her former husband's uncle, who is also deceased.  The cottage is located in the town of Findloss, which was buried by the sands some years ago in a freak storm that didn't touch any other town along the coast, and then was un-buried about fifty years in the past.  The book itself is set in the 1920s as a record Megan leaves behind her upon her departure.  As such, it has a definite period feel to it, much more so than stories that are written in the third person but set in the past.  It was something I actually really liked here, because I think it did help to establish the time and place.  Megan is an American living in Scotland, and there is a lot of phonetic Scottish accent use here, but I managed to muddle through.  I think the writing style actually helped it be not as obnoxious as it typically can be to me.

The hero here is Lachlan, a selkie warrior who shows up on Megan's doorstop one stormy night in pursuit of a wicked finman (another creature) who is terrorizing Findloss.  He also reveals that Megan seems to be tied up in the drama to a greater degree than she initially imagined.  Lachlan is, of course extremely attractive, and while Megan isn't a virgin widow (which was nice, as it's kind of a tired trope) her relationship with her former husband was rocky at best and downright disastrous at worst, so despite having decided to forsake relationships, she's still intrigued by him to a great degree.  There's also something of a growing level of affection between them, though I never felt that it had as much chemistry and "sizzle" as a lot of other books.  I think this was, in part, due to the writing style.  Megan is somewhat of a reserved character, and I think that the book being from her perspective (and written as a record she left behind for others, rather than just an ongoing internal monologue) lent a level of restraint to it that, accompanied with time and place, means the romance here doesn't "pop" like you'd find in Eloisa James, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, or Courtney Milan books.

Still, I found this an enjoyable story.  I think selkies are a somewhat under-utilized mystical creature class, and I'm glad that I used this for the category.  The setting here is done very well, with great images that really evoke the town of Findloss.  There's also just enough dark creepiness in it to have me looking a bit nervously out into my dark living room while reading in my bedroom, even though I knew I was being silly.  So, yes, enjoyable.  Did I devour it?  No.  But I liked it, enough that I might look into the second book, The Selkie (more of a companion than a direct sequel from the sound of it) sometime in the relatively near future.

3.5 stars out of 5.

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