Dear Ms. Kantra:
I thought it would be kind of fun to run this review after Jia’s wherein she expresses some, um, discomfort at merpeople as main characters in a romance. While I have not read many books about merpeople, I can say during the ones I have read I have never had a sushi craving. Sea Fever is the second (or third if you count the anthology) in the Children of the Sea series.
The night the only eligible man on the island got married, Regina Barone got drunk.
The opening line says it all. Regina Brone’s life isn’t really going so well. She escaped from World’s End, a small tourist/fishing town in Maine to pursue a career as a chef. She had grown up in her mother’s restaurant but she wasn’t interested in serving eggs, hashbrowns, and clam chowder the rest of her life. She was on a fast track at Perfetto’s in Boston (owned and run by Food Network star, Alain Perfetto) until she got pregnant with Perfetto’s child and he had no interest in her, anymore, or the child. Unable to support herself, she returned to World’s End. At one time, she nursed a hope that perhaps she and Police Chief Caleb Hunter might kindle a romance. Instead she was catering his wedding to some strange woman who appeared virtually out of nowhere.
Caleb’s brother, Dylan, shows up for the wedding and allows herself to be physically swept away for an evening. But Dylan disappears and Regina is back to where she started: a single mom of a slightly rebellious 8 year old son, a critical mother, and no romantic prospects on the horizon.
Dylan Hunt is a selkie who came to World’s End for the wedding of his brother and another selkie. It was his intent to leave and not return but his Prince commands that Dylan not only return but watch over Caleb and his wife. They may have a selkie child and with the selkie number declining rapidly, Prince Conn, is desperate for this child. Conn believes that fire demons are equally determined to thwart the birth or steal the child or do something that would further destroy the selkies.
Reluctantly Dylan returns. The reluctance isn’t so much of Dylan longing for the sea, but that being back stirs emotions which he has spent so long repressing. As a half selkie, Dylan had worked twice as hard to be a perfect one which meant subliminating his human side, the side that feels; that grieves; that wants. Dylan is a loner by nature and has convinced himself that he neither needs nor wants companionship. As more time is spent with Caleb, Margred, and Regina, however, Dylan’s emptiness becomes more apparent.
There’s a wonderful kind of mirroring (and I’m probably not using this term correctly in the writing sense) between Regina and Dylan. Both characters are in similar positions both only Regina acknowledges it. She acknowledges that she is lonely and desirous of companionship. Dylan suppresses it.
I’m focusing more on the emotional aspect of the book not because I’m not interested in the world building but because I found the character development to be more interesting. To some extent, the world building, the paranormal aspect, worked to move the plot forward, to provide the basis for some conflict but I also felt, to some extent, that the world building could have been stronger because it resided so much within the individuals instead of shaping the world around the characters.
I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more done with the loss of parenthood idea because Regina’s father left her family and Nick, her son was fatherless and Dylan grew up without a father because his mother stole them to the sea to be selkies. The story alludes to those issues, but never really deals with it.
Overall, though, I like this series and look forward to reading more Children of the Sea stories. The characterizations are strong and the people are genuine. B-