by Jorrie Spencer, paranormal (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-717-1
Selkie Island is a simple story of a poignant romance between a selkie heroine and our human hero.
Nine years ago, Clay visited Selkie Island and had a short but memorable affair with a woman named Morag. He told her he loved her and he wanted them to be together forever, but she said that she couldn't leave the island and it went downhill all the way from there.
Today, our hero is a secret agent. Wounded from a recent encounter with some armed villains, he returns to Selkie Island, perhaps looking for... Morag? He's not sure himself. It's one of those things you just do when you are not thinking too much about things. He finds Morag, having never aged a single day since they went separate ways. What he will learn is that Morag is a selkie, never aging even as she watches her family members, and eventually, their children, grow old and die. Taking human form only in winter, Morag is melancholic, fearing that she will eventually lose her humanity even as she tries to find comfort in remembering her sweet love affair with Clay nine years ago.
Ordinarily, this story isn't anything new. At least, it's nothing I haven't come across before. But what makes this one stand out is how author Jorrie Spencer manages to bring to life the emotions felt by the characters. Morag is a selkie, but this doesn't mean she's some super-sexy naked woman character ready to spice up an erotic romance. Instead, being a selkie means that she's immersed in melancholy and loneliness, clinging to the few good memories in her life in order to feel like a human being. Clay is less dramatic when it comes to his angst, but he's also a lonely guy who finds in Morag a sense of wholeness.
I feel as if the world around me has vanished and it's just me and the story while I'm reading Selkie Island, and by the last page, I'm actually crying. Ugh, how embarrassing. It's not everyday that a short story has this effect on me, so I am more than happy to give this baby the two thumbs up.
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