Review: The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

Posted September 10, 2012 in Review / 4 Comments

The Lure of Shapinsay
By Krista Holle
Published December 16th, 2011
Sweet River Romance
260 pages
Fantasy / Paranormal Romance
Source: Received from author in return for an unbiased review

From Goodreads:  Ever since Kait Swanney could remember, the old crones of the village have been warning her to stay away from the selkies. They claim that like sirens of old, the seal men creep from the inky waters, shed their skins, and entice women to their deaths beneath the North Sea. But avoiding an encounter becomes impossible when Kait is spotted at the water’s edge, moments after the murder of a half-selkie infant.


Unexpectedly, Kait is awoken by a beautiful, selkie man seeking revenge. After she declares her innocence, the intruder darts into the night, but not before inadvertently bewitching her with an overpowering lure.


Kait obsesses over a reunion deep beneath the bay and risks her own life to be reunited with her selkie. But when she lands the dangerous lover, the chaos that follows leaves Kait little time to wonder—is it love setting her on fire or has she simply been lured?

This is really a unique story.  I’ve never read anything like it and I’m not sure I would have picked up a story like this had the author not asked me to review this.  But I have to say, I really enjoyed this mystical (or is it mythical?) fairy tale about selkies set around a remote Scottish island.

Set in 1848 on the island of Shapinsay, Kait and her twin brother, Blair, live outside of town on a small plot of land next to the water.  While Kait is in town selling her chickens’ eggs, she witnesses a horrendous act.  While Kait is investigating, a male selkie stumbles upon the scene and mistakenly thinks Kait is guilty of murdering a half selkie child.  Out to get his revenge, this selkie visits Kait in the night and oops, she sees him and his “magic” lures her to him. 

Or is it the magic?  That’s the ultimate mystery behind this fairy tale-like story; is it love or the lure Kait is feeling?  What I enjoyed about this story is that there were other plots written around the central mystery so you never got bored.  You had the whole, “what is her controlling brother going to do with Kait” angle and the “what is up with the crazy neighbor” mystery added to the mix.

Speaking of crazy characters, I thought Ms. Holle did a fantastic job writing authentic characters.  Is the neighbor crazy?  Yep, most of the time… or is she?  Blair, Kait’s brother, is a young man trying to be all grown up but he just ends up acting like an awkward brute.  The selkie is a totally authentic sea creature turned “animal-in-love-with-human”.  He even talks like an animal (the word “humping” is used so be prepared – my immature mind giggled a little).  An animal in love with a human?  Really?  Yep, think fairy tale… 

It will all be explained in the wonderful ending that I absolutely adored, although it was a little short – I wanted MORE!!  But the ending totally took me be surprise.  It was sadly bittersweet.  I had no clue how the story was going to end!  I love when that happens!! 

If you need a change of pace from the urban fantasies you’ve been reading a lot lately, you might want to give this sweet tale a try.  With language that takes you back to the mid 1800’s of Northern Scotland (thank goodness for my Kindle dictionary), you’ll feel like you took a vacation to the island of Shapinsay and met your own selkie (okay, very cheesy, but Ms. Holle draws great pictures with her words!)

image courtesy of Great Britain Historical GIS Project (2004) ‘Great Britain Historical GIS’. University of Portsmouth


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About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of “happily ever after” books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It’s for her family’s sake. When not reading, she’s homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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4 responses to “Review: The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

  1. I loved this one! It was so different and sweet and innocent but kind of closer to the real tales that were told by fishermen. She was so young and naive and I think thought love could conquer all. It was really a good solid story. I’m so glad to see that others are reviewing this. With all the mermaid, selkie, siren stories out there, I think this one needs some attention!

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