The Selkie Bride
by Melanie Jackson, historical/paranormal (2010)
LoveSpell, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-505-52834-6
The Selkie Bride is marketed as a paranormal romance, but if you sneeze at an inopportune moment, you'd miss what little romance that is present in the story. If you read the synopsis on the back cover and expects a dramatic fight between the forces of good and evil, you will be combating emotions such as disappointment. If you look at the cover and think that this is an erotic romance, you're better off reading some other book. The best way to describe this book is that it is actually a lovely coffee table book that somehow has all the lovely photographs replaced by reams after reams of text.
In 1923, widow Megan Culbin moves to the supposed cursed Scottish village of Findloss to begin a new life and escape the drama she left behind in America. You see, her late husband was a monster who died of a drug overdose in a brothel, and he left behind a pile of debts. An unexpected inheritance of Culbin's Cottage and some small amount of money allows Megan to move to this sleepy fishing village, where she will soon find herself involved in a fight between the selkie Lachlan and the dark forces that have once again risen to plague Findloss.
Except, Lachlan shows up for the first time only after 60 pages or so, and he is separated from Megan for so long throughout the story, I'm taken aback by the sudden declaration of grand love at the end of the story. The first sex scene is as fun as dunking one's head in cold water on a winter morning in Greenland: it's just "Whoopee! Let's do it!" and bam, they're in bed. Megan thinks that she can be a modern woman sleeping with a man who catches her fancy, but the joke's on her because we all know that a paranormal romance hero can impregnate even a marble statue. Therefore, this isn't romance as much as it's some kind of "Honey! I'm pregnant, so whatever, let's stay together!" thing. And then we have the "dark forces". Barring an occasional appearance of dead body, nothing really happens until the last few chapters in this book.
So what is there in roughly 90% of this book, you ask? Elaborate descriptions of Megan's environment, described to excruciatingly minute degree, interspersed with long-drawn stories of the main characters' past. They do make some solid and compelling read at first, mind you, and I have fun "visiting" Findloss through the author's evocative prose, but after a while, I begin to wish that something will happen in this story. A big problem here is that the story is told entirely through Megan's point of view, and yet, the fun things are all taking place off-stage. Therefore, I am never allowed to catch a glimpse of anything fun, because nothing really happens to Megan that is remotely interesting. She doesn't have a job, she doesn't have any ambition, and she just wanders around in a daze, taking in her surroundings. She is the least interesting aspect of this story, but she's hogging the limelight!
I don't know what happened to this author, but with The Selkie Bride, she has come up with yet another book that is completely boring. It seems like Ms Jackson is aiming for a more literary approach to her stories, but the end result always feels flat to me. Reading this book is like trying to fight off the effects of a sleeping pill. I hate to say this, but if this situation continues, I think I'd have to be the Andrea Bocelli to Ms Jackson's Sarah Brightman as we perform a heartbreaking version of Con Te Partirò.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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