Selkie Dreams

Selkie Dreams

4.03 (51 ratings by Goodreads)
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Belfast, 1895. Haunted by her mother’s death, Máire McNair is lured by
the selkie myth to the promise of the Alaskan wilds to fulfil her dream
of finding acceptance.

Cunning and determination get her there in the guise of teaching at the
Tlingit Indian mission. But Alaska proves more complex and difficult
than she imagined, and the hope that this new place would transform her
is elusive as ever.

The censorious Mrs. Paxson, the wife of the trading post manager,
constantly finds fault with Máire’s efforts to instruct the native
children. She has her own plans and Máire is in the way. Will Máire be
able to forge her own way and make a success of her teaching? And what
should she do about the handsome yet moody Lieutenant Green who is
aggressively courting her?

Natsilane is the Tlingit erstwhile mission protégé. Troubled and
disaffected, he finds himself battling Máire’s naive views and
prejudices as he seeks to regain his own cultural identity by resuming a
traditional lifestyle that draws from the Tlingit myth. But he cannot
escape his past with the mission, nor can he or Máire escape the mutual
attraction they feel. In a world that permits no rule breakers, will the
power of myths trump all?
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Product details

  • Hardback | 386 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 36mm | 780.17g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 190848327X
  • 9781908483270
  • 2,879,217

Review quote

"I don't know if Selkie Dreams is the first novel to combine the story of a lonely nineteenth century Belfast childhood, a Presbyterian mission in Alaska, and the life and culture of the Alaskan native people, the Tlingit, that the mission serves, but I do know that this is a beautifully calibrated and vivid and interesting historical novel about love and death in the North American wilderness, that the characters are fascinating, that the evocation of the natural world and the social customs and practices of Tlingit is assured and convincing, and that the story, albeit melancholy, is unfailingly engaging. I wish it well.'"
--Carlo Gebler, author of "The Siege of Derry"
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About Kristin Gleeson

Originally from Philadelphia, Kristin Gleeson lives in Ireland, in the West Cork Gaeltacht, where she teaches art classes, plays harp, sings in an Irish choir, and runs two book clubs for the village library. She holds a master's in library science and a PhD in history, and for a time was an administrator of a national archives, library, and museum in America.
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Rating details

51 ratings
4.03 out of 5 stars
5 35% (18)
4 37% (19)
3 24% (12)
2 4% (2)
1 0% (0)

Our customer reviews

There is nothing more wonderful on a sunny British afternoon, than relaxing in the back garden with an excellent book. And 'Selkie Dreams' is just that: an excellent book. This beautifully written novel is the love story of M�??�?�¡ire, an Irish girl who travels to Alaska to escape an unwanted marriage and the claustrophobic atmosphere of Protestant Belfast. Here she meets Natsilane, an enigmatic native man who has spurned his American education and the attempts of the missionaries to 'civilise' him, and returned to the traditions of his people. From the moment M�??�?�¡ire is carried ashore to her new home by Natsilane, the narrative - and the passion - soars to lyrical heights: 'Just before the boat could go no further, a man from the group moved towards them, parting the fish that thronged the water.' The quiet, but determined, young girl from Belfast becomes engrossed in the rhythm, sights, music and stories of the Tlingit tribes and the beautiful landscape and wildlife that surround her. The reader is carried along with her in her journey of discovery, desperately hoping that somehow, despite their cultural and religious differences, M�??�?�¡ire and her sensual lover will find happiness. 'The seals appeared again at the inlet, attracted by the fish that gathered in the weir. M�??�?�¡ire was glad they'd returned and went to feed them to lure them from the weir. They came to her begging for the fish she dangled in her hand...She talked then sang and then patted their heads. She gave each one a secret name... Natsilane caught her at it once, but only shook his head and walked away. She was certain she saw a shadow of a smile. In the days that followed M�??�?�¡ire found a small pile of fish by her basket, ready for the seals.' Kristin Gleeson leaves us with a memorable and poignant love story and a vision of a wonderful culture, unique in my experience of more
by Karen Charlton
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