DAUGHTER OF THE SEA by Berlie Doherty


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Doherty (Snake Stone, 1996, etc.) works a generous handful of selkie legends into this somber tale, set on an isolated northern island where ""men haunt the sea . . . and it is said that the people of the sea haunt the land."" Caught in a freak storm, a childless fisherman finds a baby floating next to his boat, and brings it home to his wife, Jannet. They name her Gioga and raise her as their own, despite the warnings of a peculiar, seemingly deranged villager, Eilean. Gioga's real father, calling himself Hill Marliner, appears twice to take her back; twice he relents at Jannet's pleading; when Hill Marliner returns a third time, Jannet shoots him. Dead, he becomes a great seal. Wailing with grief, a wave of seals attacks the village's boats and catch, and a wild storm comes up. Sacrificing herself to quiet the storm, Eilean sends Jannet's husband to bring Gioga back, and tells a young villager the location of the sealskin that will allow the child to go back to her people. This is without the emotional impact of Donna Jo Napoli's Zel (1996), another story of a woman loving a child beyond sanity, but those captivated by other selkie tales will find a full measure of magic and mystery here.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
Page count: 115pp
Publisher: DK Ink