Book Review: One Saved to the Sea by Catt Kingsgrave (F/F)

Posted: September 18, 2013 by sidlove in 5 Star Reviews, Book Reviews, Katinka's Reviews
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Reviewed by Katinka


One Saved to the SeaTITLE: One Saved to the Sea
AUTHOR: Catt Kingsgrave
PUBLISHER: Circlet Press
LENGTH: 29,000 words
BLURB: In the Orkney Islands, mothers tell their children of the selkies, seals who can shed their skins and dance on land. They also tell that whoever holds a selkie girl’s skin can trap her for a wife. From the lighthouse where she was raised, Mairead has watched the selkie girls secretly since she was small. She longs to leave the home that has never really been hers and join them. She could never have guessed that a limping selkie girl has been watching her too, nor what wildness the shapeshifter would draw her into. Their paths collide when most of the men including Mairead’s brothers have been called to war, the village idiot decides to catch himself a wife, and Mairead is the only one who can stop him.

Drawing on myth and history, Catt Kingsgrave writes a tale of the clash of the modern age with magic, of loss and searching, a tale that will sweep you away to a past that never was, and into a sapphic love story just this side of impossible.


To be read on a stormy night…

A precious folktale, that delivered in more ways that I had anticipated. Kingsgrave’s writing has a certain poetic quality, evoking a dreamy atmosphere that I found myself reveling in. I expected this story, that’s set on one of the tinier Scottish Orkney Islands, to focus on hazy eroticism and not be very plot-driven. But it’s such a wholesome tale instead! With a plot that captivates and weaves all details together for a thrilling climax.

One Saved by the Sea is about a tough island-born girl, Mairead, who is called an unnatural creature behind her back, because she is still unmarried and – shockingly enough  – not the slightest bit interested in men. Instead, for as long as she can remember she has secretly spied on the selkies; beautiful pale and dark-haired girls, mythical creatures that shed their seal skin at night and crawl out of the gray sea to dance and make love underneath the stars. Mairead watches, loves and lusts from afar. And envies them…

They did not have to live on the island, with no escape from those smoke-dried, strangling moralities.

Now Mairead, she is not one of those spoilt city flowers who only come up to the Orkney Islands for the summer nights and Beltane fires. Smelling of kelp, rust and diesel, the taste of sea salt always on her lips, she is the Keeper of the Selkeness Light. The lighthouse’s flame a beacon during dark and stormy nights. Unfortunately, being a lighthouse keeper is considered a man’s job. And it’s only a matter of time before Mairead father, whose mind and body are consumed by illness, passes away.  With her three brothers fighting in the First World War, she will be left with empty hands.

But there are more pressing matters at hand. A girl alone is an easy target. And when one day a thief steals the skin of one of the selkies, leaving the seal girl naked and trapped on the island, Mairead has to fight back for the girl that occupied her daydreams for years. And for her future…

She couldn’t bring herself to care. Not with the memory of kisses so fierce she almost feared to end them still hovering about her lips. Not with the smell of what they’d done still haunting the back of Mairead’s throat – a lush, decadent perfume that the freshening sea wind served only to enhance. Any shame she might have expected to feel, now that her long-silenced yearnings had finally been met, simply could not make their way through the press of warm, flustered amazement. 

Final thoughts: I loved how the author kept me spell-bound throughout the story, her writing style – never vulgar and cliché, mesmerizing instead – fit the magical ambiance perfectly. I especially adored how the sea played a role in every aspect of Mairead’s life, the erotic scenes included. They didn’t make me tingle with desire, but their originality and beauty was something to behold. I would almost call this old school writing and cry out: “THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE, FOLKS!”.

BUY LINK: All Romance eBooks

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