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A Stranger Came Ashore
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A Stranger Came Ashore

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  625 ratings  ·  75 reviews
A wild, stormy night . . . A shipwreck . . . The sudden appearance of a stranger . . . That is how it all begins. The stranger is Finn Learson, a young and handsome man who seems to be the only survivor of the wreck. Finn Learson is charming and generous, and the Henderson family gladly give him shelter. Only young Robbie Henderson does not trust Finn Learson and his oddly ...more
Paperback, Harper Trophy Book, 163 pages
Published April 6th 1977 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1975)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  625 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Michael Fitzgerald
Good supernatural novel with plenty of Scottish flavor. A quick read, but satisfying.
Leo Robertson
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a kid and could never remember the name of it! I loved it at the time :)
Sarah Mayor Cox
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
First read this book when I was at uni, way back when we were all dancing away to Adam Ant!!! Pam Macintyre (my lecturer extraordinnairre, and the person who reintroduced me to children's and YA lit. as an adult) recommended it to me. It is a selkie tale about a stranger, Finn Larson who comes ashore one stormy night and is taken in by a farming family on Orkney. It is a thriller, as the supernatural forces of the selkies battle with the superstitious people of the Orkneys. Probably my favourite ...more
Cynthia Egbert
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love folklore and all things Scottish so I fell in love with this suspense story. I have requested a number of this author's other works from the library because I appreciated her treatment of the selkie legend and I look forward to experiencing how she handles other myths as well as some historical periods. I recommend this one highly. ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
So I read this book in My English Class so maybe I didn't appreciate how good it was but I think I did and it just didn't have much to offer!

I liked some of these characters and maybe the general idea but I think it could have been executed better!
No offence it just wasn't for me
Feb 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
I read this book in English, and it was not to my liking. The story trailed on and on and the ending was pretty bad. Although I didn't like this book, the characterisation was good but it was worded very strangely. ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
We read this book at school . I thought it used all of the Shetland myths well but it really wasn't very gripping. At some points I thought it was quite creepy. ...more
May 10, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had only read the other kind of selkie myth: the beautiful woman who abandons her seal-skin to frolic naked on the shore until some local-yokel snatches it, forcing her to be his slave/bride. I guess that's only the she-selkies. The males apparently lure land-women to the kingdom under the sea. What a sexist myth...

Robbie's Old Da always told stories about the selkie-folk, of the Great Selkie whose palace is roofed with the golden hair of his drowned brides. Old Da soon becomes suspicious of t
Tania Poole
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Mollie Hunter's book - they're nice and short and do justice to Scottish folklore. I also have The Walking Stone and The Haunted Mountain in my collection.

This one also involves the Shetland festival 'Up Helly Aa', some that from what I've seen online, is a most fantastic looking festival.

This story is not like Roan Inish - it's not a selkie woman coming ashore and marrying a human only to go home again, this one is far more sinister and more of a danger to humans, so it's a nice change i
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scratch that. Did read it previously.


Nice sense of quite menace and atmosphere throughout the book, as well as a decent take on selkie folklore. Some of the side characters are memorable enough to keep a reader interested.

Having said that though, not sure there's enough going in the book to keep a child from the 21st century that interested outside of a classroom. While the sinister atmosphere is there, the book lacks any real sense of urgency for an adventure story aimed at children, I don
Feb 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009, ya
meh. I never got caught up in the magic.
Nicole Xue
Aug 07, 2020 rated it liked it
It all starts with this boy Fenn Learson who came upon shore. He met Robbie's family and his sister and him are a couple they might get married. Robbie's sister does not know that what Fenn is doing with her. Fenn is trying to marry Robbi's sister so he can get the great selkie skin that is why he came ashore A person named Yarl Carbie his the selkies skin and Robbie found it and hid it so Fenn can not get it. He wants to get the skin to get revenge on the selkies because the selkie hurt him so ...more
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I do love me some selkies, but that's really all this book has going for it.
The basic premise is fine, but the author goes out of her way to drain it of any kind of suspense or mystery. You know what's going on literally from page 1, and you have to spend the first half of the book watching our incredibly bland protagonist slowly putting all of the blatant clues together to figure out what we've already known for 50 pages.
The writing is mediocre, the characters flat and the only thing that add
Odera Onyekwere
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
not the best of book cos yeno its quite sad because 1 or 2 people die in the book and then someone goes into a crow and takes out someone's eye which is very confusing but i wouldn't really recommend the book to anyone because as i said before it isn't very interesting ...more
Lovisa Ljunggren
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read A stranger came ashore when I was young and really loved the magic and the old Shetland-island folklore. Now I re-read it together with my 11-year old daughter and she is also captured by the story. This is a wonderful read aloud book.
Lisa Moncur
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a spooky and haunting book! This is definitely a page-turner with the ethereal feel of a myth/legend. I read this book when I was younger and when I found a book report I created about it, I had to find the book and read it again. I’m so glad I did, it was such a fun and thrilling read.
Matthew Clare
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book, like all of Molly Hunter's.

But what an odd cover! It looks more like a teen romance than a children's book!
Meg Perry
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 5-stars
I loved this book when I was a kid and read it in 2nd grade and I have looked for it for years. So glad they finally did a reprint.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing YA book, one of the first Fantasy/Mysteries I read as a child and used to reread it.
Gelatin Factory
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
A somewhat original plot line, yet is very predictable. Good for younger children.
Virginia Clay
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, elegant story. I admire the way Mollie Hunter interweaves complex folklore and atmospheric description with a lightness of touch that is wonderfully accessible for children.
Jim D'Ambrosia
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great sense of tension. In many children's books (and adult books), it's hard to feel suspenseful as a reader because you know the end is going to be more or less ok. Not so here. ...more
Anthony Garcia
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
it was a good book and was suspensful
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: standalones
A very enjoyable, short glimpse in the myth of the selkies!
Sarah Rigg
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A modern-day book that references old Welsh selkie tales!
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time favourite books.
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-school
Well written tale of Scittish lore that includes suspense and magic. Loved it! RL 8 years and up.
Joey Liu
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeweork-stuff
good! excellent ! would recommend
Sep 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An insight in to the customs and superstitions of Shetland folk!
Daniel Gamboa
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is, in fact, as quoted in the back of the book: "a fantastic, gripping tale based on the Scottish legend of the Selkie Folk". Set on the Shetland islands, "A Stranger Came Ashore" was a book that combined everything I like in a story: island life and culture. In addition, the story revolves around the legend of the Great Selkie, and while this is a book written for young readers, I was enthralled from beginning to end by the atmosphere of mystery knitted around it. I learned so much about t ...more
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Maureen Mollie Hunter McIlwraith writes under the name Mollie Hunter. Mollie Hunter is one of the most popular and influential twentieth-century Scottish writers of fiction for children and young adults. Her work, which includes fantasy, historical fiction, and realism, has been widely praised and has won many awards and honors, such as the Carnegie Medal, the Phoenix Award, a Boston Globe - Horn ...more

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