Caroline's Reviews > Seven Tears Into the Sea

Seven Tears Into the Sea by Terri Farley
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Jun 27, 11

bookshelves: seven-tears-into-the-sea, terri-farley, selkies, young-adult, paranormal-romance, ya-romance, four-star
Recommended for: Anyone interested in folklore romance, and all selkie fans
I own a copy

Terri Farley tackles a scarcely-written-about Celtic legend in this sweet teen romance. And, much to my delight, she does a very good job.

Again, my own bias slips in. I was raised on selkies, ever since the fabulous children's book "The Seal Mother" was read to me at bedtime. As someone who is absolutely obsessed with the story, I intend to read every book about selkies out there. Most, however, are cheesy romance novels that I know I'm not going to take too seriously. "Seven Tears into the Sea", however, really captures the legend's spirit, though Farley doesn't "go there" as she should.

The romance crafted between Gwen and Jesse is, again, more sweet than sexual. I believed the bond, the possession. Was it shallow? Oh, yes, in many parts. However, when you read the book... It doesn't feel like it's supposed to be deep. Their relationship is meant to be fleeting, almost more of a milestone, a rite of passage for Gwen more than a real, long-term thing. They love one another, but both seem to know that it won't be forever. In that respect, it's a very meandering, mellow read. I felt as if I knew the conclusion before it happened, but oddly, that wasn't a bad thing.

I understand how outsiders may have trouble understanding the legend; Farley doesn't spend much time fleshing it out. If it weren't for a few details at the end, the question of whether or not Jesse was a selkie could have been left ambiguous. (Which I almost would have preferred for this particular story, but oh well.) This decision seems to be intentional on the author's part. Let's leave it mysterious, Farley says. A standalone novel. "Seven Tears into the Sea" has little need for world-building. It's a modern interpretation of a folk tale.

One thing I will say is that I don't think Farley explored Gwen and Jesse's physical relationship very well. It's not that I wanted them to have sex--however, it felt like she was dodging the overt sexuality of the selkie legend. The problem with this is that she teased it quite a bit, without at all fulfilling. Farley actually has a habit of this. It's like she wants to keep everything within the pre-teen range of her Phantom Stallion novels, though Seven Tears into the Sea stars a seventeen year old and should be aimed toward that age range. To be honest, I remember reading those same Phantom Stallion books and wishing that two characters would kiss--it seems to be a habit of hers to tease, but not go there. (Again: ten year old me didn't want the PS characters to go "there", of course. But come on. You're hinting at romance, put in a little bit of middle school crushing.) It comes off like she's either scared of or incapable of exploring Gwen's sexuality. And that's... kind of what the selkie legend is about...? Again, that's not to say the romance novels are on track. There should be something in the middle of extreme sex and chastity.

So, yes. Seven Tears into the Sea is slow at some points, shallow at others, and it may come off as a bit withholidng. But there's a charming touch of fairy tale magic, a fragile romance, and a taste of another world.
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