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When she learns to draw forth a beautiful woman from a seal, life changes again.


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Island men set aside their human wives—girls and matrons who once ridiculed Misskaella—and pay whatever she asks for seal wives. Earthy, vigorous characters and prose ground the narrative in the world we know, yet its themes are deep as the sea. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again.

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  • The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan –review.
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I 've admired Margo Lanagan's work for a long time, so I had high hopes of her latest novel. Beyond the slight disappointment of the cover does every book for teens at the moment have to have a moody girl in a ridiculously fancy frock?


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And this one, draped over a wet rock, looks as though she can't hide her boredom till the photoshoot's over , my hopes were realised. The novel spans several generations, with the desires of the inhabitants of Rollrock Island explored through a series of episodes, each one taking a different protagonist. We start with a short tale from young Daniel Mallett, as he and his friends carefully avoid Misskaella Prout. Because she is a witch.

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The second story is Misskaella's own, as we travel back to her youth, and see how she became the shunned and sorry old bag that she now is, reviled by the people of Rollrock and yet in great demand, by the men of the island at least, for she has the power to summon beautiful, compliant, marriageable young women from inside the seals who cluster on the island's beaches. Left largely unguided to develop her gifts, Misskaella grows up unloved, unmarried and feared.

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A secret joy makes life bearable, but loss soon follows. When she learns to draw forth a beautiful woman from a seal, life changes again.

Island men set aside their human wives—girls and matrons who once ridiculed Misskaella—and pay whatever she asks for seal wives. Earthy, vigorous characters and prose ground the narrative in the world we know, yet its themes are deep as the sea. There was a problem adding your email address.

Please try again. Be the first to discover new talent! Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert. Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts.