Melanie Jackson,
The Selkie
(Dorchester, 2003)

This is a wonderful fantasy tale of Scottish lore.

Since my great-great-great-(you get the idea)-grandda was said to be a selkie, I am rather touchy when writers create stories on the lore. Most of the time, I sort of cringe, fearing the writers will not do the selkies justice. When Melanie Jackson said she was doing a book about one, the reaction was different -- joy, for I knew Melanie and her heritage (I have it on good insider info from the Wee People that she is one of the fey!!) and her love for All Things Scottish would do right by the selkies.

Melanie has written an utterly charming tale of a selkie accidentally called from the sea ... and OH does it steal the heart!! I applaud Melanie's setting the book in 1929 -- it seems the romance market believes anything after the turn of the century is not worth writing about. So in 1929, Hexy Garrow is maid/companion to a widowed blond bimbo, who pulls a blond moment and leaves her expensive sable coat on the beach of the Scottish coast. Hexy is sent to fetch it because her mistress is leaving for Italy and cannot travel without her coat.

Hexy's take a few moments for herself at the beach to shed a few tears -- seven, to be exact -- for the loss of her brother who drowned, for her failed romance, for the loose morals of the day's young women and because her nose is red from allergies. She has no notion the seven tears shed into the sea summons the selkie -- in this case one Ruairidh O'Uruisg -- or that the seal coat she mistakes for her mistress' is really Ruairidh's selkie skin!

For those not familiar with Scottish lore, the selkies are magical seals that could came ashore, shed their skins and take human mates. They were so beautiful that no one could resist them, but they were only permitted to live on shore for a year and a day before they had to return to the sea. So you can imagine Hexy, a very practical modern-day girl, has a wee bit of difficulty dealing with Ruairidh when he comes to reclaim his sealskin coat. He asserts he has no time to be her lover -- maybe later when the time is right for such things -- but is horrified to to learn HIS coat is on way to Italy via Wales. It is vital he get it back.

It is a charming romance, whimsical, light and so true to the ancient lore of Scotland. Melanie's Hexy and Ruairidh are so wonderful and bright, and will absolutely steal your heart.

So if you love Scotland and wish to have a wee grand adventure, I recommend Melanie's best book to date. She is simply magickal ... but then what else would one of the fey be?

I have truly loved many of Melanie's works, but this is by far her best!!

- Rambles
written by DeborahAnne MacGillivray
published 15 March 2003

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