Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan
"The Brides Of Rollrock Island"
When she was little she knew she was different, she just didn't understand how she was different. There were those in town who would whisper as she passed, others with courage would openly scorn her but most would simply turn away as though she were never there. That is till one day when the world opened up to her, her secrets were exposed and she performed magic; she called forth a maiden from the sea.
When he was younger he had never noticed the obvious, how all the mams on the island were the same graceful glossy haired beauties. All the mams that is but his own. His father had gone to the mainland to fetch a bride and had hopes he would do the same. But can a bride from the mainland, however beautiful, ever compare to a bride brought from the sea?
Being so young he didn't notice how unhappy his mam was, how unhappy all the mams were. They were born from the sea and living on land and, no matter how much they loved their families, it was breaking their hearts. But the mams could not return to the sea without their seal skins and the dads had those secretly locked away. But even if he could find a way to set his mam free would he really be willing to let her go?
Sea Hearts is a magically dark fairytale of one island and the generations of people who call it home. As one girl grows from awkward child, to misunderstood maiden to vengeful witch, her actions have consequences that span lifetimes. Amongst a witch's revenge, a lover's betrayal, a heart trapped between two worlds, a father's loss and an islands maddening desire remains a heartbreaking love. A hauntingly beautiful and eerie tale that is in every way a tragedy, but may still yet hold some hope.
Price (AU): $19.99
Recommended age: 16+
In a word: Sea Maiden
Re-read it: yes
Star rating: five out of five