Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading … Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Just Finished Reading … Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

Review of Ashes on the Waves
by Mary Lindsey
To be published on June 27, 2013
by Philomel/Penguin

Source: bought

Connect with the author: website | Facebook | Twitter.




Summary (from Goodreads:) Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever. With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make a wager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.
Buzzwords: Gothic romance, bean sidhes, selkies, Edgar Allan Poe.

My take:  Ashes on the Waves offers up a heady blend of Gothic atmosphere and Celtic lore, a romantic, brooding tale of a pair of tragic lovers that is also a clever expansion on the Poe poem Annabel Lee.

Liam has grown up as an outcast on the remote island of Dòchas. An accident at his birth killed his mother and left one of his arms useless, so the villagers call him a demon. As a child, he played with heiress Annabel Leighton, daughter of the owners of Taibhreamh, a gloomy mansion by the sea. When Annabel returns to the island, she and Liam fall in love. This is one part of the story that may aggravate those allergic to insta-love. Annabel and Liam's friendship as children is definitely used as a way to put their romance on serious fast-forward in the present. They're definitely an odd couple -- she's a hip queen of the supermarket tabloids, a rich-girl-behaving-badly, while he's quiet and unassuming, with a quaint, Old World quality to his mannerisms and speech.

For this story to work, the reader has to accept the fact that Liam and Anna are madly in love. But it's easy to root for them, because everyone is against their relationship: Anna's parents, her creepy housekeeper, her friends, most of the village, and many of  the weird paranormal creatures that lurk around the island -- Na Fir Ghorm, bean sidhes, and selkies.

There are other two main sources of tension in the plot: the mysterious disappearance of Annabel's uncle, and the fact that the Na Fir Ghorm and the bean sidhes make a wager about the strength of the couple's love and proceed to test them. But there's tons of other odd, atmospheric touches, like a selkie named Muireann -- an occasional POV character who pines for Liam from afar, the aforementioned creepy housekeeper (shades of Mrs. Danvers) and the backward, hardscrabble villagers.

Ashes on the Waves was a fun and original story that really kept me guessing. I'd read the poem and knew how it ended, but I was still surprised by many of the twists and turns the plot took. While I wouldn't call this a character-driven story, I would single out Liam as a unique and compelling character, the unlikeliest of dreamy book boys but one I think will appeal to a lot of readers. I found Annabel a little harder to get a grasp on.

If you love books that are brooding, tragic and romantic, you should definitely add Ashes on the Waves to your to-read list!

27 comments:

  1. While I wait for a chance to get to this, I definitely need to check out Poe's poem so I'm prepared. I loved Lindsey's Shattered Souls so I really hope I love this one too.

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    1. It's printed in the front of the book, so you are all set….

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  2. I'm not sure if this book appeals to me or not lol Sounds kind of weird yet intriguing. It also sounds like a case where the insta-love just might work.

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    1. It's different, which is one of the things I liked about it...

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  3. I've been dying to read this one. It sounds awesome. Fabulous review chick!

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  4. Nice review! If a plot can keep me guessing then I need to read it.

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  5. I have had this on my to-read list for a while now! It sounds like you really enjoyed it. I can't wait to read it now!

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  6. I happen to love brooding, tragic romances, and I love the poem, so I'm definitely planning on reading this. It sounds so atmospheric and engaging. The housekeeper has shades of Mrs. Danvers? *shivers* Awesome review!

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  7. Oh gosh, I love Poe's Annabel Lee. I love a good tragic romance, ha! I am also glad to hear that although you knew the poem as well you still found new things to appreciate. Great review :)


    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

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  8. This one sounds awesome! I adore the poem Annabel Lee and I can't wait to pick this up! I don't like insta love though I think I won't mind for this one. And the paranormal creatures sound awesome! I love those kinds of creatures and your review is lovely!!

    - Ariella @ Secrets of Lost Words

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  10. Oh sounds like a great book! It's new too! I love the cover!

    Like Ariella, I am not a fan of instant love but I want to find out what the Otherworlders put them through and how they overcome it all!

    Thanks for this!

    Feel free to visit my blog, Book2Buzz

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  11. I am a sucker for tragic and romance! I may have to check this one out someday. :)

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  12. Great review! I have been considering this one for a while now. I love the cover, title and blurb but hadn't really seen anyone's review for it. So happy to see that you enjoyed it. I wish more focus was given to the characters though. That might not work for me.

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  13. Sounds so good! I have heard wonderful things about this book. Which makes me very happy because it has such a beautiful cover. Great honest review!!

    DaydreamerN

    Http:/www.daydreamerN.blogspot.com

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  14. Wonderful review, I have this *eyes bookshelf* and hope to read it soon, since I am familiar with the poem.

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  15. I'm not sure if this is one I would've picked up from the blurb, but it actually sounds interesting. Insta-loveish ... I can deal. :D

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  16. Ooh, I am not a huge insta-love fan, even if it's based on childhood events like that... even if it's tragic and romantic... hmmm. You do sure have a way of making what I am not normally a fan of sound appealing. Actually, what I find most interesting is that people make a lot of retellings of Poe's work for the Gothic--his stuff is truly creepy and awesome and layered with all sorts of meaning--but I find it hardest to relate to those retellings. It's Poe. I think, no matter the retelling, I will remember Poe.

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  17. Man, I need to read up on some Poe. It's been awhile. And I still have this author's first book on my shelf, unread. :( I think I'd like this one even better, though. I'll definitely be picking up a copy.

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  18. The tragic lovers appeals to me, but not so much the Poe, but it depends on how done

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  19. Oh, I didn't knew the story was inspired from Edgar Allen Poe's Annabel Lee. I know how it ends too and I just don't want to go through those emotions. Even thinking about it makes me sad but it looks like the author did a great job with Liam's character. Glad you enjoyed it. Great review, Jen!

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  20. This one sounds really intriguing. I looked it up the other day. I'm planning on reading it, but don't know if I'll love it. I'll probably have to read something light and happy afterwards.

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  21. I never read the original poem so this will all be new to me. I didn't even know there were bean sidhes and selkies in this! LOL I mostly heard it is a strong romance where everyone is trying to break them up. That can be annoying at times but it is good that they are easy to root for. I think being childhood friends can partly explain a fast romance.

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  22. Your review makes the book sounds soo good! I honestly really want to read it now! :) I've never read the poem, so there won't be any spoilers, and I just love how the book sounds so unique! And yes, I'm allergic to insta-love too, but Annabel and Liam sound different, I can't wait to see how it pans out. And selkies and bean sidhes! Now that sounds really cool. ;)

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  23. So glad I read this review because I gotta tell you--that cover? Total turn off. BUT, I had no idea this was an expansion on Poe's Annabel Lee because I LOVE that poem! And I love Gothic (Mrs. Danvers you say? AWESOME.)

    I tried to read Lindsey's Shattered Souls a couple of years back but it was just not for me. This looks more my speed even though I'm not a fan of instalove.

    Great review, Jen!

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