Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Selkie by Rosanna Leo

This was supposed to be her year. However, after losing her job and discovering her fiancé cheating, Maggie Collins has her doubts. When her grandmother dies, she hits rock bottom. Maggie travels to her grandmother’s home in Orkney, Scotland to sort through her gran’s things, only to discover the old woman has left her a seal pelt as her inheritance. She also learns that others are after the pelt.

To add to her frustration, Maggie’s dreams are filled with luscious images of a long-haired man, images that draw her to the magical beaches in Orkney. Although she’s lost her trust in men, this dream man inspires her with a lust she’s never known before.

Calan Kirk has also been dreaming. Dreaming of Maggie, the mortal woman who arouses him as no other woman ever has. Meeting her in the flesh when she arrives in Orkney is nothing short of spontaneous sexual combustion. But she is a human, and not to be trusted. He needs the seal pelt, not a red-haired temptress.

As a thief ransacks Maggie’s grandmother’s house, Maggie and Calan are thrust together. They must search for the animal skin, a mythical relic which once found, will either bring them together or rip them apart forever.

Where to Buy

A bit different from the run of the mill shifter story, this book picks up on the lesser known Scottish tales of the Selkie and weaves it into a cute and steamy romance. Seals may not be the most romantic-seeming of animals to base a shifter race on, but Orkney definitely makes for a quaint and romantic backdrop. There is a bit of drama thrown in here as well to keep things interesting, though there's never really any edge-of-the-seat, nail-bitingly-tense moments and the few big confrontations that happen resolve themselves fairly easily overall.

Maggie has been a very career-driven woman for most of her life, working hard to attain a big promotion that not only isn't granted, but her job is pulled out from under her to boot. She goes to tell her fiancé the bad news and finds him in his office getting a blowjob from his secretary. She tosses her ring at him and leaves and spends the next few months working a string of temporary jobs and dreaming about a man from the sea. Then one night she dreams about her grandmother, knows it was a farewell message and that her gran is gone, and she ends up traveling to Orkney for the funeral and to settle her estate. There she meets Calan, and, well, you'll have to read it to get the rest of the story ;) I thought Maggie was a fairly realistic character, with problems that many of us can relate to quite easily. Matthew, the fiancé mentioned above, was the second one she had caught cheating, so she was very much in a "I'm done with men" frame of mind, and thus more resistant to Calan's charms than she might otherwise have been. Still, I thought she was rather too resistant to him, and couldn't quite understand why she felt she couldn't even let herself just have sex with him once or thrice without there necessarily being any commitment implied. She really was just making herself crazy(er) by continuing to even consider it.

For a man who was presumably 500-some years old, Calan came off as very modern-seeming. Not just in the manner of his dress, and the fact that he drove a Harley, but also in attitude. True, he has a few anachronistic quirks here and there, and doesn't always remember the correct modern term for something, but overall he seemed very 21st century, particularly in the way you could tell he truly did consider women to be equal to men. He is a sweet and loving man, though not without a dash of ass thrown in there for good measure. I found it appealing how he just couldn't help being attracted to Maggie and wanting to spend time with her, etc., no matter how much he kept trying to tell himself that he could never want/love a human for more than sex now and again because of things that have happened in his recent-ish past. Still, though is reasons for wanting to shun humans are as compelling (if not moreso) as Maggie's reasons for shunning men, he is still the one who is the first to be honest with himself and admit his feelings for her.

I was drawn into the book fairly quick, but it started to lag a bit for me through the middle part. I think Maggie's reluctance to give in to her attraction to Calan became a case of "the lady doth protest too much", because after a certain point I don't think even she believed that she didn't want him. I also didn't really get why Matthew really needed to be drug back into things, and particularly didn't get why he was brought up at the funeral, where he made his surprise entrance, but then aside from Maggie thinking about the fact that he was lurking around somewhere, we don't really see him again for quite awhile. I would have thought he'd be lurking more visibly since he supposedly is determined to get her back. Camping on her doorstep, following them around when they went out, etc. Also, I found all the mentions of Angus and Elsie kind of distracting, because the way it was presented often felt like how authors will briefly recap things that happened in a previous book in the series to remind readers about it and/or to fill in readers who didn't read the previous book in about enough of what happened to understand the current situation. Only there wasn't a previous book to this one, so it was like we were being given reminders about a story that was never written. Or at least, was never published.

I rated this one 4 stars because overall I liked it quite a bit but had too many minor issues with things to make it a 5. I'd recommend this one for anyone who is a fan of shifter stories/romances, or just of paranormal romance in general, and also to anyone who enjoys stories based on traditional mythologies, particularly lesser known ones. I'm going to look forward to reading more in this series and from the author in general.

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