January 11th, 2022 by Jane Turner
This review of Daughter of the Sea by Elizabeth J. Hobbes comes courtesy of a blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. Daughter of the Sea was published on 23 December 2021 by One More Chapter.
I sincerely apologise to Rachel, Ms Hobbes and One More Chapter for the lateness of this review.
On a windswept British coastline the tide deposits an unexpected gift…
It was the cry that she first noticed, the plaintive wail that called to her over the crash of winter waves. Wrapped only in a sealskin, the baby girl looks up at Effie and instantly captures her heart. She meant only to temporarily foster the young orphan but when news reaches Effie that her husband has been lost at sea, and months pass without anyone claiming the infant, she embraces her new family – her son Jack and her adopted daughter Morna.
Effie has always been an outcast in her village, the only granddaughter of a woman people whisper is a witch, so she’s used to a solitary existence. But when Midsummer arrives so too does a man claiming to be Morna’s father. There’s no denying Lachlan is the girl’s kin and so Effie is surprised when he asks her to continue looking after his daughter, mysteriously refusing to explain why. She agrees, but when he returns six months hence she pushes him for answers. And Lachlan tells a story she never anticipated … one of selkies, legend, and the power of the sea…
This wasn’t what I expected – “a tale of selkies” – but still thoroughly enjoyable. And I’m loving the cover art!
Set at the turn of the 19th century, the story begins with Effie finding a bundle of reeds and fur on a turbulent coast while collecting weed and plants for food and medicine. Inside, a naked girl-child. Effie’s husband is off at sea and, with no way of identifying the parents, she takes the child to her breast as sister to her young son.
Her husband is killed in a shipwreck, and Effie and her small family must cope alone through mourning and through gossip and accusations that are part of life in a small village – until a mysterious visitor arrives to lay claim on Morna…
I expected a story of the child, who we soon know as Morna. The title suggested as much. Her story, her heritage; a tale of life as a selkie. This book, though, tells the story of Effie and how she comes to reject her ‘civilised’ life for one of magic and love.
Though I found the writing style difficult in the opening chapters (a little too much info-dumping for me), it soon smoothed and I was sucked into Effie’s world like a riptide. I want to have tea with grandmother Alice, talking about traditional medicine and life’s mysteries. I want to go to the beach with Effie and sit and chat about life.
Effie’s strong willed, intelligent, forthright and not at all like a 19th century woman should be. She should be respectable and demure, but she’s a bit of a free spirit. She’s tied to the world through her love for her children, her grandmother, and the companionship offered by her good friend, Walter. Walter, son of the local rich-guy, gets everything his own way. And, though he professes his love and support, Effie soon realises he sees her very differently.
Lachlan, Morna’s father, is another challenging bloke. Taciturn as he is handsome, his mystery enhanced by his attractiveness, Effie is completely torn.
I wish there was a book two – where we see Effie after the events here, further than the epilogue. I’d truly love to read that.
All in all, I really enjoyed Daughter of the Sea – but I’d love a follow-up story!
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Elisabeth Hobbes’s writing career began when she finished in third place in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in 2013. She was offered a two-book contract and consequently had to admit secret writing was why the house was such a tip.
Ms Hobbes is the author of numerous historical romances with Harlequin Mills & Boon covering the Medieval period to Victorian England, and a Second World War romantic historical with One More Chapter.
She lives in Cheshire because the car broke down there in 1999 and she never left.
But don’t just take my word for it – check out the Blog Tour for other reviews!
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