cover image Daughter of the Sea

Daughter of the Sea

Berlie Doherty, DK Publishing. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $14.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2469-3

A vast, Nordic setting and a hauntingly melodic tone evoking the rhythm of its harbors anchor this selkie tale. Weaving together ancient stories from Iceland, Scotland and Ireland, Doherty (The Snake-Stone) tells of Gioga, the daughter taken in by Jannet and Monroe, who develops a strange affection and longing for the seals in the waters that surround her island home. Doherty captures readers from the start as she foreshadows, ""Men haunt the sea, and the sea gives up to them a glittering harvest. And it is said that the people of the sea haunt the land."" Monroe finds the baby in a moon flash beneath the sea and ""as he lifted her out of the water he had felt something slip away, like a rag of soft skin. He knew what it was, and he let it go."" He keeps this secret and brings Gioga home to his childless wife, to raise as theirs--until the day she is called to return to her own. A strong cast of supporting characters like Eilean, the strange woman who knows the secret of the seals, and Hill Marliner, the mysterious seal-man who comes to claim what belongs to him, heighten the plot as it moves toward its inevitable yet poignant conclusion. While legends of undersea people are as old as man's uneasy relationship with the enigmatic oceans, what readers will remember from this one is the language of Doherty's masterful storytelling. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 11-up. (Oct.)