Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Me on Secrets of Selkie Bay
Author: Shelley Moore Thomas
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Macmillan imprint)
In their present-day tourist trap of an Irish seaside town, famed for its supposed involvement with selkies in the past, three sisters are faced with the sudden disappearance of their mother. Crushed by the loss, their father is struggling to carry on. To make matters worse, there are rumors afloat in the village that their mother herself is a selkie who has now shed her human form and gone back to sea. As Cordie Sullivan, the oldest daughter, tries to learn more about her mother's vanishing, she must find the strength to help her family move ahead, even as she discovers an increasing number of clues that point to a hidden island off the coast-a mythical kingdom of the selkies.
Secrets of Selkie Bay is a magical and melancholy sort of tale. A tale of selkies and secrets, of magic and wishes, of loneliness and hope.
Cordie is the eldest, and of course, the most practical of the three Sullivan girls. She knows what's real and what isn't. She knows that they have to worry, what with their mother suddenly missing and their father starting to crumble at the edges. Now in charge of her sisters, and a number of other important household things, she's wondering where their mother really is after finding a letter from her. Where could she be? Cordie wants her back as much as her sisters Ione and baby Neevy, but the idea that she's a selkie out in the bay? The idea that there's a secret island with treasure on it not far away? Impossible. Selkies are just made up stories. Right?
The stories and the magic of the selkie is strong. It permeates the book, winding its way through each page. Selkies are fantasy creatures, legends of people who can turn into seals with the help of a seal pelt, but what if they weren't legends? How could there be a place called Selkie Bay without selkies living nearby? As present as the magic is, there's also a fair amount of modern day skepticism. How can selkies exist? Wouldn't we know? Aren't they just seals, watching us with careful eyes?
While a somewhat sad tone travels through the book, I did find it to be a fun little adventure. Two girls and their baby sister off to search for their missing mother, getting wrapped up in magic and fairy tales, following possible selkies off into the sea. I found this to be a sweet story, a story of fantasy and reality mixing together for kids who still look for the magic in everyday life.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)