Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-59998-677-9
Historical Paranormal Romance, 2007
Heart of the Sea is frantic, manic, and sometimes most amusing. It also leaves me feeling that there are too many things going on here in a story of its short length.
There is more to the story, but I’m just giving out a bare skeleton outline of the story so that I don’t spoil too many things. Our heroine Meriel Byrne fell off a cliff seven years ago during a company party and somehow some family curse was triggered, saving her but causing her to transform into a selkie at the same time. For the better part of those seven years, she was in seal form fending off horny male seals and daydreaming of that day when she finally becomes human again and swears off fish for good. Our hero Ronan Burbank was Meriel’s boss – although he barely paid her any attention back then since he was the boss and she was pretty far down the company hierarchy – and since Meriel took a plunge, his personal fortune and career followed her down that cliff. They meet again today when she saves him from a boating mishap. What will happen now?
Meriel on the whole is an okay heroine although her constantly “on” attempt to sound like a MaryJanice Davidson heroine can get on my nerves at times. Poor Ronan doesn’t have much opportunity to shine as a character given the length of the story. Still, after an initial burst of melodramatic overreaction in the earlier moments of his reunion with Meriel, he calms down and becomes a nice guy. But the author is trying to do something here by weaving the whole selkie mythology around them. The story is interesting, at the very least, because of the progressive revelations about how the characters are intertwined with the selkies.
But there are, I feel, way too many twists and turns in this story that end up causing the story to feel as if it is a much longer tale forcefully compacted into its current length. I would like to see the ideas that go into this story getting fleshed out a little bit more. In its current form, this is a pretty readable story despite some self-conscious attempts by the heroine to imitate a blog entry that tries too hard to be “snarky”. But it’s more of a teaser than a story that goes all the way to deliver the goods.