“The brides of Rollrock Island” Margo Lanagan

ARC (Advanced Reading Copy). This American edition will be published September 11, 2012. (Australian edition released February 2012.) Alfred A. Knopf (Random House). 305 pp.

Lanagan introduces readers to an updated version of the ancient Scottish Selkies in her magical fairytale-like novel.

From a young age, Misskaella had never known love. After spending most of her life being ridiculed and shunned by her family and fellow islanders, she decides to use her previously hidden powers to enact revenge. Wanting to make every man beholden to her, and have every woman rejected just as she was, Misskaella creates beautiful, irresistible women from seals and sells them as wives to men who have magically fallen in love with them. Soon, the entire male population has been bewitched by these beautiful seal women, leaving their normal wives and families forsaken, just as Misskaella had planned.

Using several points of view to tell her story, Lanagan’s sometimes slow moving prose allows readers to feel the sadness of the seal wives, as they adapt to their new lives, while the tales of the land women and children who were left behind lends realism to the magical.

High schoolers interested in reading more from this two-time Printz Honor winner may enjoy reading “The brides of Rollrock Island.” 

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