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Secrets of the Sea House

Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

Non-member price: $32.62

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Publisher's Summary

Scotland, 1860. Reverend Alexander Ferguson takes up his new parish, an isolated patch on the Hebridean island of Harris. His time there will change his life, but the Sea House, on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after Alexander departs. More than a century later, Ruth and Michael buy the grand but dilapidated building for the family they hope to have. But their dreams are marred by a shocking discovery.

©2013 Elisabeth Gifford (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"An arresting tale of the things that haunt us." (Liza Klaussmann, author of Tigers In Red Weathe)
"A sweeping summer read, packed with an epic tale of loss, love and hope." ( Irish News)
"Secrets of the Sea House is an arresting tale of the things that haunt us. But the real pleasure in this debut novel is Elisabeth Gifford's finely wrought prose; at turns acute, delicate and fierce." (Liza Klaussman)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Struggled to get into it

Really struggled with this one. Have never actually managed to finish it, just couldn't get into the story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • J
  • 14-05-2014

Interesting explanation for mermen/maids!

I enjoyed this story and thought the use of different narrators worked well. The story developed in a way that made me want to find out more about Ruth and how her life interacted with the past, the links with the island and the previous inhabitants of the Manse. The story reached point where resolution was revealed but the conclusion was hurried. Perhaps this allows for the listener to assimilate their own conclusion but felt a little rushed. This does not stop me recommending this audio book as a good listen.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lucy
  • 13-05-2014

Slow start but really enjoyable in the end.

Where does Secrets of the Sea House rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Not the most outstanding but still one of the best. I had to make myself listen at first then couldn't stop.

What did you like best about this story?

I really enjoyed the Scottish accents of some of the narrators. I liked the fact that it switched between periods in time. I thought it had a good ending.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

Ruth - I though she was quite boring at first but as the story progressed it became clear that there was more to her.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Mainly just wanting to keep listening to find out what happened.

Any additional comments?

An enjoyable story.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Lotus
  • 10-06-2014

History comes to life in this story

Although i struggled slightly with the beginning of the story I was soon hooked, the author has written a very compelling and well researched book.

Some of the descriptive passages about the clearances brought tears to my eyes, and i think that Elizabeth Gifford captured the torment and destruction of lives in a very moving and compassionate way, and i would hope will bring understanding to those who may not already be aware of the suffering caused by landlords clearing the way for sheep, in the flash back portions of the story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs. Lee Cousins
  • 21-05-2014

Secrets of the Sea House

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend this book to my friends. It is an amazingly touching story and the characters grow on you. I was sorry to reach the end.

What other book might you compare Secrets of the Sea House to, and why?

I think this story is a unique one and I wouldn't want to compare it to anything else. It is a mystery, a love story, a gothic tale, atomospheric in its setting of the northern islands and easy to just fall right into.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

I loved all the characters as they were so beautifully presented by the narrators. Such beautiful accents!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I guess I will have to say that the feelings I experienced, I really can't give a name to.

Any additional comments?

No book is for everyone, but this one comes close.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ann-Marie
  • 27-09-2014

So sad

Would you listen to Secrets of the Sea House again? Why?

Yes I would. It's a lovely story set in the remote island Harris in Scotland.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I think I liked Moira most. A strong and fascinating woman.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

So many I cant't pick one. The finding of the baby, the walk on the shore, the discoveries.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Oh, yes! I can't tell though because it would spoil the story...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Teresa
  • 08-07-2014

Twisting and turning

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Whilst this story has expected twists, the outcome continues to evade the reader. Enjoyable and yet easy to listen to, interesting without too much effort to listen.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Secrets of the Sea House?

The finding of the corpse(whose I am not saying!), the misleading way my mind sorted it out.....I was wrong!

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

We'll narrated, and change of narration, very slick causing no jarring to the performance

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Historical mystery solved!

Any additional comments?

Unusually I could listen to this book again quite soon, and I am sure I would gain different insights, partially set in the time of the clearance of the Scottish Islands, it holds interest for people who are interested in fiction, mystery, historical..... In fact most people

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs
  • 01-09-2014

Absorbing read

If you could sum up Secrets of the Sea House in three words, what would they be?

prose, characterisation, plot

What did you like best about this story?

linking mystery between different periods in time

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

distinction between male and female characters

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

nothing specifically

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • dianne
  • 12-08-2014

A very different story line therefore interesting

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would only recommend this book if the friend was receptive to this type of mystery

What was one of the most memorable moments of Secrets of the Sea House?

Alexander & Moira finding each other

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances? How does this one compare?

no

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found it quite dreary & possibly depressing

Any additional comments?

no

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • liz cox
  • 20-07-2014

like reading a classic black & white film at times

If you could sum up Secrets of the Sea House in three words, what would they be?

ancient faces modern

What was one of the most memorable moments of Secrets of the Sea House?

the mythological story of Ishmael and the selkie

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

the three narrators read their characters well

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

satisfied with the explanation and reasoning behind the mermaid / merman mythology.

Any additional comments?

good story immersed in folklore

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • A. Richards
  • 26-08-2019

loved this story

a couple move into a new home by the sea and find the remains of a deformed baby under the floor boards.
the woman becomes obsessed with finding out who lived in the house before them.
she has to face her past before she can have a future.