Thursday, July 12, 2012

Splash into Summer: The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

My first book about selkies and it was definitely better than I thought it would be. Although the romance of it was a bit OVER THE TOP and Edward/Belle-esque, I enjoyed the story of a selkie torn between the sea he loves and the girl he's lured into being with him.

I thought this story was going to be told through the eyes of the selkie male (named by his 'captor' Eamon) and, it was. However, it is also told through the eyes of the girl, Kait and it seems that it is Kait's story that receives most of the attention in it we find a girl being forced to follow conventions and marry. Her parents have died and it would seem her twin brother Blair thinks he is doing her a favor by setting her up before he pursues his own bride. He believes this to be especially true since Kait's best friend has a baby that isn't quite human, and, because it was thrown out to sea to drown the selkies want some sort of vengeance. Eamon, too, is trapped by duty and a fear of humans, except for he can't stay away from Kait for too long.

It's pretty cool that this story takes place on the island of Shapinsay during the same time period that Balfour Castle was being built, the middle 1800s, when people still believed in faeries and the evil of witches. Kait learns that to keep Eamon with her, she must steal his selkie coat, and hide it in a place that no one would ever look. This is what human men have been doing to beautiful selkie women for ages and it works in reverse, but at what cost. While Eamon and Kait love one another and are bound to one another it must be determined if this love is strong enough to live through so much on both sides of the equation.

Although predictable (what love story isn't?), the ending has a twist that I truly enjoyed. I look forward to reading more lovie-dovie romances by Krista Holle and I need to find more books about selkies, as I don't know any of their legends and lore. I feel like I'm behind the times and must go watch The Secret of Roan Inish and Ondine immediately.

4 Stars   
The over the top romance and Scottish accents (so hard to do successfully on paper) kind of did me in, I do think that my students will like the romance of this book, and if you're looking for a different sort of paranormal and mermaids are too fluffy, I'd suggest a selkie book.

Teacher Advisories
Sex 4/5 
When selkies are on land they are truly, they don't seem to mind. There's lots of lips touching soft  skin and warm touches and such and Eamon's nude the whole time. There's also a human male who won't leave Kait alone. Kait and Eamon marry and sleep in the same bed. Eamon refers to having sex as 'humping'. They have sex on the beach and in a bed. There's lots of nudity...not written dirtly at all...but it's still there. I'm curious about its YA seems grown-up in this respect...
Language 0/5 
Substance Abuses 2/5
There's a bonfire where there's drinking. There's some more drinking at the tavern. And, then they drink again. Ah, come on, it's Scotland in the 1800s!!!
Violence 5/5
Blair abuses Kait often, he holds her down or drags her off. I get that he's trying to protect her, but wow, that's controlling and abrasive! Magnum kisses Kate and treats her like property. A baby is drowned, a girl commits suicide. Selkie women are dragged off to be wives. A Selkie man is forced to be a husband, but then he grows to love her...he loved her already actually, but still.

Touchy Subjects
Coerced Relationships
It is selkie lore that in order to trap a selkie and keep them on land you must steal and hide their coat. This makes any selkie relationship a sad affair, especially if that selkie doesn't want to be kept on land.
Brutality towards women
Blair also seems to think that he can force Kait into marrying who he deems fit. He does this by force. It seems that women are not allowed to make choices and they are brutally coerced into making the 'right' choices.

After her baby is murdered by its grandfather a woman takes her own life, she is that overcome with grief.

Judgment and Profiling
Humans think that selkies are evil and at the beginning of the book this is shown through the murder of a little selkie baby.

How this book is used in the classroom
1] Independent Read option

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