Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Litfuse Publicity: The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford

on October 18, 2014

About the book:

Scotland, 1860.

Reverend Alexander Ferguson, naive and newly-ordained, takes up his new parish, a poor, isolated patch on the Hebridean island of Harris. His time on the island will irrevocably change the course of his life, but the white house on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after Alexander departs. It will be more than a century before the Sea House reluctantly gives up its secrets. Ruth and Michael buy the grand but dilapidated building and begin to turn it into a home for the family they hope to have. Their dreams are marred by a shocking discovery. The tiny bones of a baby are buried beneath the house; the child’s fragile legs are fused together — a mermaid child. Who buried the bones? And why? Ruth needs to solve the mystery of her new home — but the answers to her questions may lie in her own past.

Based on a real nineteenth-century letter to The Times in which a Scottish clergyman claimed to have seen a mermaid, The Sea House is an epic, sweeping tale of loss and love, hope and redemption, and how we heal ourselves with the stories we tell.

You can purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author:

Elisabeth Gifford grew up in a vicarage in the industrial Midlands. She studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University. She is the author of The House of Hope: A Story of God’s Love and Provision for the Abandoned Orphans of China and has written articles for The Times and the Independent and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford OUDCE and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway College. She is married with three children. They live in Kingston on Thames but spend as much time as possible in the Hebrides.

You can learn more about Elisabeth at her website and on Facebook.

My Opinion:

It took me awhile to read this book because it wasn’t a feel good fiction book but dealt with much more of the human spirit so it took me a bit to get going with the book.  I have read The House of Hope by the same author but The Sea House is her debut fictional novel and it definitely is a great read – although I will say up front this is not a specifically Christian novel and there is one cuss words used twice – keep in mind the author lives in England and words that are bad here are not necessarily bad there and vice versa and England is a bit more liberal in what the churches believe.  I’ve never head of Selkies or Seal People although I have heard of mermaids and the tales of old have intrigued me and that is the main reason I wanted to read this book and share it with my readers – it’s also not something that is on my usual genre of books so I’ve branched out a bit.

Overall, I really enjoyed it – but I felt such compassion for Ruth, who is dealing with much from her childhood especially as she realizes she and her husband are expecting their first child.  She searches for some meaning – why would her mother leave her in such a horrible way, who is her dad and maybe the world would be better off without her too?  As I said it’s not a Christian novel, so Ruth isn’t searching for the answers in the Bible, through prayer or at church – she is looking at what she understands about evolution (this was actually the most frustrating part for me to read especially the 1800’s pastor who believes in Darwin’s theory of evolution) and who can help her now.  As I read this with my Christian worldview I know she’s looking in all the wrong places, but I won’t give away the whole story.

If you want to delve into a secular fiction novel, with characters that truly struggle and you don’t mind that struggle seeming real within the pages of the book, then this is a great read.  However, don’t expect to pick it up and read it in one day, I don’t see with the depth involved in this book how it could be – but maybe someone can surprise me and do it!  I really enjoyed the twists that come towards the end, but again, I won’t give away the whole story or the ending but just know the ending was a complete surprise to me, even when I thought I had figured the whole thing out – and that to me was a wonderful way to end the book.

If you’d like to read what other bloggers thought about this book please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

Don’t miss The Sea House, a stunning fiction debut from the UK. Set in a house on the windswept coast of the Outer Hebrides, Elisabeth Gifford‘s haunting tale effortlessly bridges a gap of more than a century. Adeptly interweaving two tales involving residents of the titular house, Gifford sets up an absorbing mystery revolving around local lore and myths about mermaids, selkies, and sealmen. Stretching seamlessly back and forth through time, layers upon layers of secrets are slowly and effectively peeled away in this evocative debut (Booklist).

Celebrate with Elisabeth by entering her Kindle giveaway!

E.Gifford, The Sea House Giveaway

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at Elisabeth’s Blog.


Watch the trailer:


4 responses to “Litfuse Publicity: The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford

  1. I loved this book! Just finished it this week. I agree with your review, it is not a Christian read but I did not find it offensive. The quality and depth of the writing is marvelous. My grandmother’s family were crofters on Harris and Lewis, which made it very real for me. I loved the selkie stories, and the way she wove the old and the new seamlessly. Beautiful!

    Thanks for such a great review. Mine’s on Goodreads now, will be on my blog soon. ~Joyce

    • ohiosarah says:

      Thank you for coming by and commenting. That is very interesting – I don’t have family stories of the ‘old country’ – so it was nice to read this one.

  2. Sounds kind of intriguing. Thanks for the disclaimers.

    • ohiosarah says:

      It is a good read – however not something for teens. You’re welcome – I forgot to mention there is a scene where a woman tries to seduce the pastor but nothing too sexual although it does mention her chest.

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: