It is tempting to describe this as "painterly", but, by that, I do not mean her father Lucian Freud's intimate terrorising in oil, but rather the patient restraint of the Victorian watercolourist, where colour, allowed to dry and sharpen, then shines through in lucid, floating layers. At one point, a character even wonders aloud: The narrative is delivered in two main time frames: And reflecting the particular sense that any novel is a kind of letter - to the reader, to the past and future, to oneself - Freud also uses epistolary interludes to great effect, so that there is a constant, sotto voce conversation occurring between the different points in history and between the overlapping lives of her characters.
Comparisons with Sebald's The Rings of Saturn are apt. His East Anglian journey - of the feet, heart and mind - offers a similarly "leaky" version of reality, where facts seep into fiction and the resultant whole is revelatory, generous in its attention to both the foibles of minor players and the themes of history: In both books there is the sense of history's nerve being painfully felt in individual lives. Freud's present day heroine, Lily, a student of architecture, has travelled to the Suffolk seaside village of Steerborough, to ponder the work of the German architect Klaus Lehmann, who designed and lived in a house there with his wife, Elsa.
I loved the storyline that revolved around the Selkies, Mermaids and Finnmen and found that to be the best written and most thought out thread in the novel. I enjoyed the characters the author created for the historical portion of her novel, the relationships were interesting and surprises that were revealed were well done. I found this part of the novel compelling, engaging and in the end satisfying. However there were many times when I thought the novel would have worked better without the contemporary storyline.
The contemporary characters were not as well developed, the story was not as compelling and the pacing was often lagging. There were subtle references to spirits that could have been executed more skillfully in this setting and there was an overall lack of consistency in the story. If nothing else I think the novel would have been improved by paring down of the contemporary story to the bare essentials only. I'm glad I read this novel if only for the Selkie storyline. But I was disappointed in the work as a whole and wished the author had polished both the past and the present storylines equally.
Thank you to the publisher, St. I must say I was really looking forward to reading Secrets Of The Sea House, I particularly loved the cover of the book and the description on the back had me very intrigued as to the story within the pages. Without going into too much detail so as not to spoil the story, Secrets Of The Sea House revolves around a Sea House and the secrets that lie within.
We are taken into the past as Reverend Alexander Ferguson spends time on the island of Harris aster taking up his new position in the parish. In the present day, Ruth and Michael buy the building with the intention of building a loving home where they can raise a family. But what happened to the baby? And who buried the bones?
I really enjoyed this story. I liked how the story was set both in the past as well as the present. I was fascinated by the stories from the past, and what had happened in the time that Reverend Alexander Ferguson was on the island. I particularly enjoyed the scenes in the present day as Michael and Ruth discover the bones and realise that there is a lot more to the house than they first originally thought. Along with them, I was surprised by what they had found, and their situation made me want to read on because I desperately wanted to know what has happened.
How had the bones got there? What had really happened? I was particularly willing Ruth along as I wanted her to find out the truth, and her determination to uncover the secrets had me hooked. The setting of The Sea House was a very striking one, I had a lot of vivid images in my mind whilst reading the story and the descriptions really brought the story to life. At times I felt as though the Sea House was a character in itself, it was so bold and had so many secrets, and I loved how it was central to everything.
The two stories went together brilliantly and they each enhanced the other story. I saw this book on Amazon and I am so glad I bought it after I kept delaying reading it and assuming it would be ok, but nothing special. It was fantastic and although it's only just turned April, it will probably be one of the best books I read this year. I loved the writing - atmospheric and so descriptive - I really felt like i was on the islands and could smell the salty tang in the sea air. The dual timeline sometimes I find this distracting because you can lose your flow, not I saw this book on Amazon and I am so glad I bought it after I kept delaying reading it and assuming it would be ok, but nothing special.
There were some sad parts, particularly in the parts of the book set in the 's, however events such as these happened then, so it adds to the reality of life back in that time. The book didn't become boring with the mystery and surprises popping up throughout and I'll definitely recommend this book. Feb 13, JSidelinger rated it liked it. Each has made Sea House their home, and the house has now yielded a secret from its past. I decided to read this book because I enjoy mysteries Blurb: Ruth is the present day character.
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Ruth is emotionally damaged and dealing with past trauma that asserts itself at ill-timed moments. She and her husband have purchased Sea House in hopes of renovating it and recouping some of their investment as a bed and breakfast. Ruth is about control or rather trying to maintain tight control over her emotions — continually feeling remorse when something has triggered an out of proportion reaction, which she then promises will never happen again…yet in reality she has no idea where, why, or what will trigger it. On the other hand, we have Reverend Alexander Ferguson belonging to an age when correctness and control of speech, manners, and social order were of utmost importance.
Ferguson is delicate in health but strong in intellect and spirit. He is an evolutionist as well, and captivated by the ancient tales of selkies as a myth. He wants to prove there is a basis in truth to these stories and sets about searching for evidence. I imagine her refining her skills with each successive novel and hope she has plans for future stories.
I commend her on her first effort and look forward to her next one. Dec 17, Paula Cappa rated it really liked it. Gee, this is a lovely writer; my first experience with Gifford's work. She has a fine sense of language, very pretty images and descriptions, and as I began the novel I felt like I was sinking into the mystical world of selkies and legends of mermaids.
A house by the sea, young marrieds Ruth and Michael, mysterious effects—all the makings of enchantment and suspense. But most of the novel is written as journal entries from Alexander Ferguson, the minister that previously lived in t Gee, this is a lovely writer; my first experience with Gifford's work.
But most of the novel is written as journal entries from Alexander Ferguson, the minister that previously lived in the sea house, which was a manse in the s, and Moira the servant girl. All the chapters are written in the first person "I" so you have perspectives from Ruth, Moira, and Alexander. Suddenly the novel fell flat for me: I felt like I was reading newspaper reports instead of moving into the delicious world of fiction.
Too heavy on facts and details maybe. There's a lot of backstory, telling this and that, and passive voice which killed any sense of immediacy for me. I ended up skimming more than I wanted to. But I will try this author again. Jun 11, Hannah rated it really liked it Shelves: I thoroughly enjoyed every minute if it.
View all 4 comments. Mar 21, Stephen rated it liked it. For her tale of interplay between what has happened and what will, author Elisabeth Gifford developed three voices. There is the Reverend Ferguson, living in the late 19th century, who represents the English presence in Scotland while dramatizing the struggle to reconcile community mythologies with the cold, hard facts of science.
There is Moira, his servant at the parish, who stands for all th "The Sea House" is about the power of past events and forgotten people to influence lives in the present.
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There is Moira, his servant at the parish, who stands for all things Gaelic and local to the piece. Finally, there is Ruth, living in the s. She has returned to the village of Scarista, where she and her husband are opening a bed-and-breakfast The Sea House even as she is pregnant with child. Orphaned too young by her mother's apparent suicide, Ruth has not made her peace with the world yet.
The setting is the Outer Hebrides, or Western Isles, an outpost facing the cold Atlantic, off the northwest coast of Scotland. All three characters are tied up with the local legend of the "Selkies" or mermaids. Reverend Ferguson believes Selkies exist, existed at one time, or evolved into early generations of the home population. He is trying to prove this through the dictates of scientific investigation, that rare man of the cloth with one foot firmly planted in the empirical world - a Spinozan, reconciling faith and fact.
When Ferguson seeks help in his endeavors from a contact at the University of Edinburgh, he is deemed, "too ready to give credence to the fanciful tales of fairies and legends held by the aboriginal peoples of the Western Islands in their state of ignorance. Couldn't she understand that when a mother takes her own life, she reaches out a hand to take her child with her? That cold, white hand reaching up from the water, willing me to slip away with her. In getting the Sea House up to snuff, the newcomers discover a small chest with a baby's skeleton inside.
The infant's legs are fused together like a mermaid's, a fact that unsettles all manner of things in Ruth's troubled soul and prompts a search for further information. Ruth discovers that the uprooting of the original "crofters" on the islands in the prior century had forced a "complete break in the village's timeline. None of this is discussed in the story. Gifford writes her big history small, personalizing it. It is enough the reader know that a good and harmless people were uprooted and that the part of the culture they represented was destroyed in the process.
Here, Moira provides a Gaelic-tinged account of her cousin Annie's life. The children's feet did sink into it, down at the end of their house where the cattle should be kept -- not that Annie had herself a cow. They never had time to let the floor harden before they must live in there, and no one had the heart or the strength to get up a ceilidh to dance the floor hard and pack down the earth in the old way.
The bairns [children] were playing a jumping game to see how far they could sink down in the mud until Annie gave the boys a slap -- something I had never seen her do before. She writes well and evenly throughout, the highpoint being an evocative and haunting account of one village's demise in which Moira and the Reverend bear witness and play a part, respectively. Ruth's persistence, or mere presence perhaps, coupled with the stubborn regeneration of myths that sustain a scattered and dislocated people's identity, drive the story from two different places in time, seemingly seeking each other out in spite of history's attempts to obscure the connection between them.
Set within a lush historical backdrop, you are transported into the heart of the rugged harsh lands of Scotland, The time-difference between the past and modern-day adds a touch of realism, for you are able to connect deeper with the text as it is given a fresh outlook of authenticity. I was lost within this sumptuous story that totally mesmerized me so I was unable to tear my gaze from the pages. Complete with bibliography and a map this new novel is impressive and certainly worth a read.
Set in Scotland, the story begins with the account of Reverend Alexander Ferguson and his time as newly ordained priest in Harris. This one house fuses together the past and the present with such singularly imaginative thought and original concepts, as to leave you in awe of such an unexpected storyline. There is a slightly gothic, archaic feel to this tale that adds to the chilling suspense, reminiscent of The Woman in Black or classic horror stories. The use of vivid imagery and wonderfully detailed descriptive passages were so deftly written that it was brought to life, with every word evoking personal memories and touching on thought.
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There were bright lines of its phosphorescence along the waves, continuously moving through the darkness and then disappearing. Completely compelling and utterly fascinating the provocative prose was arresting, together with an under layer of hidden inner meaning that will touch each reader individually. This quite personal story I found to be enlightening, as I explored one house shrouded in secrets; barely visible in a veil of obscurity. My rating of 4. Jan 16, Elise rated it it was amazing Shelves: I felt the pull of the siren song as soon as I started reading the prologue of Elisabeth Gifford's "The Sea House," and it had me under its spell from beginning to end, so don't start reading this one during a busy week or work might just have to wait.
Gifford's writing is lyrical, beautiful, and arresting. In this story of how the mysteries of the past haunt the present, be prepared to fall in love with Ruth, Moira, and Alexander--the story's three alternating narrat I felt the pull of the siren song as soon as I started reading the prologue of Elisabeth Gifford's "The Sea House," and it had me under its spell from beginning to end, so don't start reading this one during a busy week or work might just have to wait.
In this story of how the mysteries of the past haunt the present, be prepared to fall in love with Ruth, Moira, and Alexander--the story's three alternating narrators as Gifford weaves her mysterious tale between the 19th century Reverend Alexander Ferguson of the poor Scottish island of Harris and his maid Moira whose people are being evicted from their land by Lord Marstone and the late 20th century young Ruth and her husband Michael who buy the run down Sea House to turn it into a bed and breakfast.
The secrets hidden in the Sea House the bones of a mermaid child found under the floor boards unlock Ruth's curiosity as well as her secrets about her own past, part of which she has kept from her husband, Michael, and even to some degree, from herself. Moreover, Ruth's search for answers parallels Alexander's search for his own.
Reverend Alexander believes he is descended from the mermaids or seal people whose story lives on in the legend of the Selkies. Alexander looks to folklore to find answers, but would science better serve him? As in the best Magic Realist fiction, there is both a scientific and a magical explanation for the sightings of merpeople off the coast of Scotland.
True to form, Gifford's story raises questions rather than giving definitive answers, so be prepared to suspend your disbelief so that both soul and mind can benefit fully from the mysteries pondered in these pages. As villager, Angus John, says, "If you don't take into account the world of spirits, they'll come back and get you anyhow" How much do we inherit our family legacies and pathologies, and to what degree can we write our own stories and forge our own paths toward the future? This is definitely one worth reading. I highly recommend it. It seemed a little too good to be true. Ruth is determined to find out more about the baby and the trail soon leads to Reverend Alexander Ferguson who was a previous inhabitant of the house and also had a keen interest in mermaids.
I would try another book by this author as the book clearly had that something special that kept me reading. I received this book from Amazon Vine I came across this book by chance, a random selection in a second hand bookshop. The title and notion of mermaids appealed to me, other than that I was not expecting too much. However, I am so pleased that this book found me.
Such a haunting tale with depth and insight into the way of life, and troubles of the Scottish Islands in the 's. One of the best books I have read this year. Jun 15, Andrea added it. This book had the makings of being fantastic and gripping There were a handful of great chapters and many, many more that just dragged for me.
At times it was reminiscent of "The Museum of Extraordinary Things" and "The Book of Speculation" but it never achieved their greatness. A mer-child buried under a house could be spectacular. At the very least it did spark my interest in Selkies. In Ruth and her husband Michael buy an old and dilapidated house on the Hebridean island of Harris intending to renovate it and turn it into a guesthouse. Underneath floorboards they find the old remains of a baby with its legs and feet fused together.
It is a discovery that will awaken old memories for Ruth. Memories she has been trying to suppress for a long time; memories that can threaten The story: Memories she has been trying to suppress for a long time; memories that can threaten her sanity and her future. In Reverend Alexander Ferguson, newly ordained and filled with all the right intentions takes up his post on Harris.
The truth about what happened on that island and in that house will remain hidden for over a century. Ruth has her own reasons for being obsessed with mermaids and Selkies. In order to uncover the secrets from the past she will have to take a close look at her own past and the pain she has suffered. This is an interesting and very clever book. There are two stories in this book and both of them are equally powerful and fascinating. The connecting theme in this book is that of mermaid and Selkie myths. The main narrators of both stories, Ruth and Alexander Ferguson both have reasons to be interested in these myths.
Located near a Roman soldier statue. Location is central, you can find everything you need at a walking distance Breakfast is great! First place we stayed in Sri Lanka. There is a possibility to arrange a airport transfer with the accommodation, which was really nice since we arrived late at night. The room was a good size with an AC and a good mosquitonet. Via the terrace area, which is not completely finished yet, you can walk directly to the beach, which was of course amazing. The breakfast was really good, ask for the Sri Lankan breakfast in our opinion always better than the Western one.
The owner of the place was not around the first days but the last one we have seen him and got some nice advice for traveling through Sri Lanka and to our next destination. The rest of the staff was really helpful even though their English wasn't that good. A welcome herbal tea is served when you arrive.
The owner is very nice and wants to help. Breakfast is included also. Ok for 1 night. Very friendly and helpful staff. Our flight was way after the check-out time and the host family gave us a room for changing our clothes. The room was clean and pretty. The breakfast was delicious. The hostel is directly at the beach. The staff were attentive, friendly and flexible.
The location was great. I enjoyed eating their home-cooked food. The hosts were very welcoming and helpful. They arranged airport pick up for us at 1 am and a driver to take us to Sigiriya on new years day. Our room was clean and comfortable and we were able to upgrade to air conditioning for a small extra cost. Owner is very honest couple very warm welcoming very very nice food and location was very nice owner arranging taxi to airport and anything i request easly arranged good Value for money i liked that place and sure will avisit again Mohamed, Saudi Arabia.
It's a budget guest house with small rooms with basic en suite backing on to the beach. Our room had a fan. Previous image of the property Next image of the property. Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property Image of the property.
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What do you want to know about the options you selected? Thanks for your time! Your feedback will help us improve so you can book more easily next time. Thanks for your response. Deluxe Double Room 1 queen bed. Just booked in Negombo: See availability Area Info — Great location - show map Guests loved walking around the neighborhood! Closest Landmarks Ave Maria Convent. Local restaurants and markets — recommended by the host Euro Supermarket. Negombo Fish Market Market.
Closest Airports Bandaranaike International Airport. They organize everything you need. Good value for money. Greetings from the 3 Germans thanks for the cool beers! Clean and comfortable rooms. Gypsylovetheworld United States of America. Are you missing any information about this area? Sea House Beachfront Restaurant Food: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Menu: Why book with us? Pets Pets are not allowed. Languages Spoken French English. What topic s do you want to know more about? Hairdryer Bathroom features shower, bathtub, etc. Policies Pet policies Cancellation policies Couples policies are unmarried individuals allowed?
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