Running two strands of history, one from 1860 and another from the 1990s, Elisabeth Gifford tells the story of the Sea House and its secrets.
In 1992 a couple, Ruth and Michael, take on a wreck of a house in the Hebrides, hoping to turn it into a home for the family they desire. During the renovations the discovery of a child's skeleton, with its legs fused together, leads Ruth on a quest to resolve the mystery. This discovery and subsequent enterprise links back to the history of the house and the island in the 1860s when a newly ordained and naive Reverend Ferguson comes to Harris.
The author weaves the strands together and we feel the same urgency as Ruth to discover who the child was and why it ended up under the floor at the Sea House. The sense of time and place are beautifully done and the atmospherics perfectly pitched to bring a story that has a strong intimation of other-worldliness to come to a gratifyingly practical conclusion without losing its spirit. An absorbing and fascinating read with an excellent bibliography for the curious.