Sands o’ the Shore appealed to me because I grew up by the sea on the east coast of Australia, and the beach is still my most favourite place to be. This book is based on a remote island in Scotland. Although the geography between Scotland and Australia is very different, the ocean is a universal force that captures one's heart. Each chapter is prefaced with a pithy quote, which adds a sea-tang to the story. For example - "Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth" - Heinrich Zimmer.
The story unfolds around the lives of three red-haired cousins. Amy is a Scottish girl who returns to the island to live in the cottage, left to her by her dearly beloved grandmother. Tara grew up in the USA, with five brothers, and largely absent parents. Rosemary was raised by her wild Irish mother, who could never settle with one man or in one place. All three are at turning points in their lives, and by accident or design, end up staying together in Amy’s house for the summer.
Life on the island is slow and gentle. It is populated by the sort of characters you would expect to find there. The author gradually brings out the personalities beneath the stereotypes to make each of them real and interesting. A handsome artist is found camping on the beach and is drawn into the cottage family, as is a young man from Rosemary’s school. The third male character is a man-seal, known in legend as a selkie, and his role is the main thread of the story.
If you are looking for a lovely tale with a few spikes of drama, some romance, some mystery, and a happy ending, this is the book for you. The author’s writing style is casual and graceful, and apart from a few typographic and grammatical errors, I found the book easy to read and hard to put down. It contains adult themes, but nothing more than inference, and is altogether an enjoyable read.
I live in Far North Queensland, Australia, with one husband, one dog, one real cat, and 68 cat ornaments. I write children's books about outback Australia.