Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Selkie Dreams” as Want to Read:
Selkie Dreams
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Selkie Dreams

(Celtic Knot)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  54 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Belfast, 1895. Haunted by her mother's death, Máire McNair is lured by the selkie myth to the promise of the Alaskan wilds to fulfill her dream of finding acceptance. Cunning and determination get her there in the guise of teaching at the Tlingit Indian mission. But Alaska proves more complex and difficult than she imagined, and the hope that this new place would transform ...more
Hardcover, 386 pages
Published June 7th 2012 by Knox Robinson Publishing (first published June 6th 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Selkie Dreams, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Selkie Dreams

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  54 ratings  ·  18 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Selkie Dreams
After a lot of consideration I gave this book 4 stars, but it's really more like 3 1/2. There were aspects that I absolutely loved, but the ending was a let down.
What I loved was the combination of Celtic and Tlingit (First Nations or Native American) Mythology. The leading character Máire, has been brought up to believe that her mother was a Selkie. When her widowed father attempts to marry her off to a much older business partner, Máire accepts a job teaching in an Alaskan Tlingit mission as a
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
3.5 stars actually. Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

A historical novel set in England and Alaska during Victorian times. It has Native Alaskan mythology with a bit from the British Isles woven through it.

About: Marie is a young woman who has grown up without her mum. Living with her wealthy father in England, the household’s cook tells Marie stories that lead her to believe that her mum was a selkie – a mythological creature that is seal in the ocean and human on land. It becomes a k
Book of Secrets
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Rating: 3½ stars

I've read several books lately that have left me with mixed feelings, and SELKIE DREAMS is one of them. Overall, I thought this was a well-written story set in a unique time and place. The protagonist is Máire is a lost soul desperate to escape a bad situation in her life. She grew up in Belfast without a mother, raised instead by a cold and distant father. The family cook told her stories about her mother being a selkie, returning to the sea shortly after Máire was born. It's be
Lydia Presley
It's when I read books about the harsh clash between missionaries and those they seek to convert that I realize just how judgmental, harsh, and brutal colonialism is. Selkie Dreams by Kristin Gleeson is one of those kind of books.

Máire, an innocent young woman of Ireland, lives with her father, their cook, and two maids. Her mother is long gone, reportedly a selkie (seal-woman) who had been trapped on land for seven years and went back to the sea shortly after Máire's death. In order to escape a
Wonderful story but abrupt ending. What could’ve been a mini-series just ends in one page. I enjoyed the story and history but was complete let down by such an abrupt ending.
Also, I’m not sure if it was a bad digital form that I read but punctuation, spelling, word arrangement was off throughout the book.
Jennifer Jeffries
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Actually, I really quite enjoyed this book, despite the fact that it needed final tight editing - missing words/punctuation. Then I got to the final page and WHAT?!!! A trick and rather mean ending. So disappointed.
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Maire was an only child whose mother died when she was a mere babe. Her father was a strict parent, but he had Cook raise Maire which was wonderful for them both. Cook had no children of her own and doted on Maire. Maire was a curious young lady and always wondered about her mother. There were tales that she had been a Selkie and needed to return to the sea...Maire overheard other stories as well. Since Maire always wondered what happened to her mother, she spent a great deal of time at the seas ...more
Wall-to-wall books - wendy
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful story that is beautifully written! I really felt like I was transported to first Belfast then Alaska (I have always wanted to go to Alaska! LOL). This story, although fiction felt very real to me. The history and traditions of the early Alaskan people were clearly described here. This book is both interesting and fascinating.

"It is a Deer Ceremony because deer are peaceful," Joseph said. 'After each side has agreed to the gifts to be given, they will have men pretend to be d
Karen Charlton
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There is nothing more wonderful on a sunny British afternoon, than relaxing in the back garden with an excellent book. And ‘Selkie Dreams’ is just that: an excellent book.

This beautifully written novel is the love story of Máire, an Irish girl who travels to Alaska to escape an unwanted marriage and the claustrophobic atmosphere of Protestant Belfast. Here she meets Natsilane, an enigmatic native man who has spurned his American education and the attempts of the missionaries to ‘civilise’ him,
Cynthia Neale
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
The selkie myths and stories abound in Ireland and Scotland and represent seals who shed their skins to take on human form. Eventually, the selkies seek out their seal skin to return to the sea and leave their earthly loves to mourn for them. Reading this book was akin to holding a large sea shell up to one's ear and imagining the sounds of a soothing sea. The story is about a young Protestant girl, Maire, from 1880s Ireland who has grown up without her mother, whom she believes is a Selkie. Coo ...more
Claire Stibbe
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was privileged to read an original manuscript of this enchanting tale when the book first aired on one of the Harper Collins Publisher websites. It’s a mixing of two cultures, one sensual and wild, the other intellectual and suffocating. Unlike other books of legend where we see a man weeping into the sea and inadvertently summoning a Selkie princess, this is a unique story that will undoubtedly leave a residue of magic in your heart.

Gleeson casts a little girl whose mother is a Selkie. She h
Jean Gill
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hauntingly beautiful, a book that takes you into 19th century Alaska from the viewpoint of a reluctant young Irish missionary, who cannot accept the colonial view of the native Americans she is supposed to teach, convert and of course patronise. When Maire throws off her corsets, she is abandoning more than physical constraints, showing once again the rebellious nature that Cook told her had come from her selkie mother. Maire’s search for her mother is a thread throughout the story and her selki ...more
Knox Robinson Publishing
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
'I don’t know if Selkie Dreams is the first novel to combine the story of a lonely nineteenth century Belfast childhood, a Presbyterian mission in Alaska, and the life and culture of the Alaskan native people, the Tlingit, that the mission serves, but I do know that this is a beautifully calibrated and vivid and interesting historical novel about love and death in the North American wilderness, that the characters are fascinating, that the evocation of the natural world and the social customs an ...more
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A truly beautiful story, a little slow and stilted to start with, but gaining in pace as the story unfolds. Once in Alaska the tale really takes wings. The portrayal of the native peoples of alaska is colouful, detailed and so interesting. The effect of over zealous Christian missionaries on native populations is extremely well drawn.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story is well outlined in other comments.

C.P. Lesley
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
A good story, well told for the most part, with a lovely sense of cultural differences and history. The ending is a real shocker, though. Very metaphorical, I am sure, but shocking even so.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it liked it
A novel of subtle ambition.
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J.G. Harlond
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The gentle pace of this novel is in keeping with its setting and location, it also enables the reader to appreciate the underlying theme and the beauty of the prose.
rated it it was ok
Dec 20, 2017
Katie Dru Anderson
rated it liked it
Nov 12, 2018
Adele S. Porter
rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2017
Owein Herrmann
rated it it was amazing
Apr 07, 2012
Linda Carrell
rated it it was amazing
Sep 17, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jun 09, 2012
Martha Scott
rated it liked it
Sep 14, 2017
Jennifer Guise
rated it liked it
Mar 04, 2017
rated it really liked it
Sep 07, 2012
rated it really liked it
Aug 06, 2018
rated it liked it
Aug 25, 2017
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • French Twist: An Amelia Feelgood Mystery (Findlater Island Book 1)
  • Spying in High Heels (High Heels, #1)
  • The Sea House
  • A Chancey Detour (Chancey Books Book 6)
  • Chancey Jobs (Chancey #4)
  • February's Files (Manny Rivera, #2)
  • Whom Shall I Fear?
  • Downside Up: A Novel of Suspense (None of the Above Book 1)
  • The Trailer Park Princess with Her Knickers in a Twist (Trailer Park Princess #4)
  • Death at the Seaside: An English Cozy Murder Mystery
  • The Victory Garden
  • Rose in Bloom (Eight Cousins, #2)
  • The Marvell Crescent Murders: Dusty Kent's First Case (Dusty Kent Mysteries #0.5)
  • Coming Home
  • Louisiana Longshot (Miss Fortune Mystery, #1)
  • Humpty Bumpkin (Country Cousin Mysteries #1)
  • The Daydreamer Detective (Miso Cozy Mystery #1)
See similar books…
Originally from Philadelphia, Kristin Gleeson lives in Ireland, in the West Cork Gaeltacht, where she teaches art classes, plays harp, sings in an Irish choir and runs two book clubs for the village library. She holds a Masters in Library Science and a Ph.D. in history, and for a time was an administrator of a national denominational archives, library and museum in America. Later, she served as a ...more

Other books in the series

Celtic Knot (3 books)
  • Along the Far Shores
  • Raven Brought the Light

Related Articles

While dealing with her husband's illness, this debut author turned to the refuge of Jane Austen's work. That refuge turned into her highly anticipa...
88 likes · 13 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »