Review: The Lure of Shapinsay

  • Author: Krista Holle
  • Format: Kindle Ebook
  • Published: December 19, 2011
  • Publisher: Sweet River Romance
  • Pages: 272 pages
  • Source: Bought on Sale

Ever since Kait Swanney could remember, the old crones of the village have been warning her to stay away from the selkies. They claim that like sirens of old, the seal men creep from the inky waters, shed their skins, and entice women to their deaths beneath the North Sea. But avoiding an encounter becomes impossible when Kait is spotted at the water’s edge, moments after the murder of a half-selkie infant.

Unexpectedly, Kait is awoken by a beautiful, selkie man seeking revenge. After she declares her innocence, the intruder darts into the night, but not before inadvertently bewitching her with an overpowering lure.

Kait obsesses over a reunion deep beneath the bay and risks her own life to be reunited with her selkie. But when she lands the dangerous lover, the chaos that follows leaves Kait little time to wonder—is it love setting her on fire or has she simply been lured?

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This is my first selkie read. I love paranormal books and I've recently been reading a lot of mermaid novels, so I figured why not give selkie books a try. They're the closest thing to mermaid novels after all and the weekend that I bought this e-book, it was a dollar cheaper than usual. And let me tell you, Krista Holle did not disappoint.

Kait Swanney lives on the island of Shapinsay. Since before she was born, the older inhabitants of the island have warned of the selkies--dangerous beings who lured unsuspecting women to their death in the surrounding sea. The story begins with the birth of Kait's friend, Astrid's, bairn. And everything escalates from there. Despite repeatedly being warned to avoid selkies at all times, Kait finds herself drawn to one she dubs Eamon after he unintentionally put a lure on her while visiting her late in the night, debating on avenging the murder of a selkie pup by murdering her in return. What both were unready for was a whirlwind romance that would change their lives forever.

For those who don't know, a bairn is a child. It's Scottish, I believe, and most of the book is written with terminology like this. If you have no prior knowledge of words like this, you'll still be able to understand everything easily, and even get a giggle out every now and then when Holle mentions one of the characters putting on their pampooties. But do not expect this book to be written the same way as the average young adult novel/e-book. It's not.

The characterization in this novel was so creative and captivating. Kait was stubborn and strong-willed. She did not care what others thought of her, but what she thought of herself. And all she knew was that she loved Eamon and needed to be with him, despite those legends. A love like hers could not be from a lure, after all. It could be nothing but real. Eamon is a young, orphaned selkie. Honor means everything to him, which is why he fights so hard to rid Kait from his life. But when he realizes he is too weak to do so, he devotes himself to Kait on land and turns away from the sea to show that he is fully honoring her and only her. Honor means everything to him and he is torn between two worlds: his love with Kait and the sea calling to his inner selkie. He has no sense of self if he is not honorable. Will it be their undoing or their salvation?

 The pacing in this novel was superb. It was not too fast and not too slow, but the middle dragged the tiniest bit. All essential information was given and the back-plot is extremely interesting. The fact that parts of the novel was in Eamon's POV helped this along. Because of this, I especially love the character of Tipper when she comes into play.

If you are a romance lover, this is a novel for you. The entire novel is based upon a romance that should be forbidden. Selkies are creatures of the sea and Kait, a human, belongs on land despite her love of the sea. Eamon eventually turns his back on all that he knows for Kait and her land, but it begins to weaken them and their relationship. Forbidden love, for them, is not all that it chalked up to be. Desperate to salvage her relationship, Kait will stop at nothing to save her selkie mate. Thus the ending will not only put a smile on your face forever, but linger within your minds weeks after you finish reading. This is not a novel that can easily be forgotten.

With such a heavy emphasis on romance, I feel obligated to point out that there are some intimate scenes in this novel. While nothing is graphic, you know what's going on. You're told what's about to happen, but you do not actually read what's happening. It is left to your imagination. Holle showed their relationship and their intimacies beautifully in this sense without taking it to an unnecessarily graphic level. Instead it was what love should be: two people loving each other without an audience.

I am giving this novel 4 out of 5 stars. It didn't disappoint. While it did not leave me breathless and craving for me, I truly enjoyed reading Eamon and Kait's story. It was not the easiest relationship and they endured a lot of hardships. They're both stubborn characters that take you for quite a ride, but their story is unforgettable and worth reading. 

This is a definite read for any romance lover. It's quick and easy and will satisfy any reader. 

I like this cover! It's as if Eamon is using his selkie lure to grab our attention for the book. Although, I have to admit, I imagined Eamon to be much more pale than he is depicted as being on the cover. Otherwise, everything matches up pretty perfectly. The cover is beautiful and inviting. Good choice.

4 stars



  1. Great review! I'm going to have to read this. I've never read a selkie book before, but it sounds too good to pass up. I loved your description of the different Scottish terminology. That actually makes me want to read it even more :) And I love the cover. Very striking (and hot).

    1. The cover is so beyond hot! I love it.

      If you read it, I'd love to know what you think about it, Becca! I'm sure you'll love it!