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The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M Harris - Review

Monday, May 27, 2019

I got this book for Christmas from my friend Laura. We tend to always buy each other books, which is always nice. She knows I like a lot of Joanne Harris' books, so she bought this one, which is a standalone novel published under the name Joanne M Harris. I was looking for something else on my shelves last week (actually Joanne's book The Lollipop Shoes to lend my mother, because she says she's never read it although I'm sure she has) and found this and pulled it out.

It's a story about a selkie, which is a mythological creature that looks like a seal but which can shed its skin to become a human and walk on land. I've heard selkie stories before but never read a whole book so I was interested. There are plenty of stories about selkie women who shed their skins and fall in love with a man. If the man hides their skin, they cannot return to the sea and must live on land forever, forever mourning their lost seal half. What I'm saying is, I knew what I was getting into with this book, mostly.

This book though is about a selkie man, and the girl he falls in love with, Flora. She hides his selkie skin in the cedarwood chest passed down from her mother and grandmother and binds him to the land for good. She is pregnant with his baby so the two are married. The selkie then goes to sea with her father, to hunt whales and seals, and there he discovers the truth about himself.

The book has a really flowy, mystical vibe to it, which I felt really suited the story and which I liked. Joanne is excellent as using language to portray mood and setting, and I really felt like I got the image of the tiny fishing village where the book was set. There's also really gorgeous illustrations in the book, which really added to the fairy tale feel too. It's not usual kind of thing, but I loved it! Four out of five.

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