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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

Title: Ashes on the Waves
Author: Mary Lindsey
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: June 27, 2013
Publishing House: Philomel
ISBN: 9780399159398
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


Liam McGregor is cursed. Haunted by the walls of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him - until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam's fate is changed forever.

With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied, but the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make a wager on the couple's love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial - and this time it's not only their love that's in danger of being destroyed.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Every villager believes that Liam is a monster, a devil who brutally destroyed his mother's body when she gave birth to him. He's so used to being maltreated that he really thinks that he deserves the punishments he gets. When Annabel Leighton, the only girl he's ever loved, comes back to the island, Liam begins to realize that maybe the reason he took it all by stride was because he had nothing to fight for. But now that the two lovers are reunited, it seems that there is opposition from all sides. Liam and Anna can handle being maligned by the villagers and Anna's family and friends, but when Otherworlders take too much of an interest and place a wager on their love, Liam and Anna may face their deadliest obstacle yet.

Right off the bat, let me just say that I love Mary Lindsey's world-building. I've already read - and loved - her earlier work, Shattered Souls, so it was only fitting that I pick up her newest novel as well. Now, Dòchas, the island where are protagonists are moored, just screams "Eerie, fantastical mythical stuff happens here!" Aside from the horrible, paranormal rumors revolving around Liam's birth, there are actual otherworldly creatures that lull and trance some of the people to throw themselves into the ocean. There are also selkies who seem to know more than they let on and one in particular even keeps a watchful eye over Liam. 

Liam appears to be the picture-perfect modern-day Gothic hero - handsome, mysterious, brooding, yet passionate about his lady love, Anna. While I can understand how he can fully love Anna who may have become a different person as compared to her seven-year-old counterpart, I couldn't embrace the idea of Anna quickly falling irrevocably in love with Liam. She's a Page Six favorite - a New York socialite whose goods have already graced countless of tabloids and magazines, all for shock value. I understand that Liam might have a totally fresh personality from what she's normally accustomed to, and maybe that is just what Anna really needs - someone who can see her for herself - but I think she just fell for him a little too quick for my taste. 

I was actually quite fascinated with Muireann, the selkie. Her gentle and innocent ways were simply bewitching and I adored her for it. The only other book I've read with selkies in it was Margo Lanagan's utterly lovely The Brides of Rollrock Island, and while those selkies were demure, they don't really have any distinctive quality - which I presume, stands for a point Lanagan was trying to make. But Muireann was just so alive and child-like, which definitely deviated from the selkies I was accustomed to.

The ball only really started rolling after the first half of the book. The Bean Sidhes (pronounced as ban-shees. Yes, those banshees. I learned it from Mary Lindsey's FAQs.) and the Na Fir Ghorm decided to determine the fate of their territorial wars once and for all by testing the strength of the love of the unlikely couple. While I don't really get why Liam and Anna have to be the unlucky people chosen to be pawns in their little messed up game, I guess it's more entertaining to mess with people who are trying to rise above the hardships as compared to ruining lives of the already miserable villagers. 

If you like reading modern-day adaptations of Gothic novels, or if you fancy yourself in a somber, poetic mood, you might want to try reading Ashes on the Waves. It will also appeal to the romantic at heart who never can resist rooting for star-crossed lovers.




  1. Eeeps! I love EAP re-tellings(: It just sounds so-ugh...And I love starcrossed!!! Great review(:
    Happy reading

    1. If you do pick it up, I hope you enjoy reading it. :) Thanks for dropping by!

  2. Wow, this sounds GOOD! I like eery,atmospheric island reads so this is in my TBR now thanks to you, Michelle!