The Summons: A Selkie Tale

Marj W.

HISTORICAL:  Content with her uncomplicated life in the desolate beauty of an isolated cove in the Scottish Isles, Moire is the 23-year-old devoted daughter of a minister named Robert. Donald is the local man who plans to marry Moire, and his path seems clear until Innis, a mysterious stranger, walks out of the sea. In this romantic triangle Moire is not only choosing between two men, but also between two different ways of life, both in geography and philosophy. The introductory poem, “Song of the Selkie” offers brooding foreshadowing that sets the perfect tone. 

This atmospheric tale evokes a melancholy longing for people, traditions, and places lost or irrevocably changed by the inescapable advancement of time and technology. It addresses the challenges that independent-minded women of earlier generations faced when they had the audacity to decide to choose their own destiny. The outcome of the love triangle does not deviate from the core traditional selkie story, but Marj W. Ivancic’s meticulous integration of assorted variations of selkie lore anchors “The Summons” with a sense of the timeless nature of people’s longing for acceptance at home and in a supportive community. Those two themes are woven throughout this bittersweet spin on the enduring legends of Seal Folk set in the early 20th century. Poetic language in the descriptions of place provides a dreamy foundation in contrast to the succinct dialogue consistent with the practical manner of characters honed by the rugged terrain. Fans of the Children of the Sea series by Virginia Kantra should enjoy this appealing little gem of a story.  

Cardyn Brooks