The Sea House (also known as Secrets of the Sea) by Elisabeth Gifford is a wonderful read. I finished it yesterday, and it lingers in my heart. I find that I don't want to start another book today, not just yet. I want to mull over some of the things the characters learned in the novel - things about themselves, things about others.
Gifford has written a hauntingly beautiful story of how learning about the past can help bring clarity to the present and give hope for the future. I love that the story is set in Scotland, among stories of fairies and mermaids and tales that were passed down in the oral tradition many centuries ago.
The story is written in both present day and in the 1860s. In the present day, a young couple buys an old house to restore for a bed and breakfast, and they discover a buried secret. When the wife, Ruth, decides to try to uncover the mystery, she learns a lot about her own secrets and the demons that she battles with.
When the story jumps to the past, we discover what Ruth is uncovering about the history of the house. She learns about the Reverend Ferguson who once lived there. Ruth also learns how the landowners treated their tenants and the history of hardship those people endured. I found the historical fiction part of the novel very interesting, as I don't know much about Scotland or its history.
If you love a good mystery story that includes mermaid sightings and old men who tell tales around a campfire, and you think you'd like to learn a wee bit about the ways of the Scottish people, this is a book for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'm so glad I decided to take a chance on this author's debut novel. I look forward to reading more from her.
A few minutes later, our office secretary came to my classroom while I was still teaching the lesson. She walked in with a small box from Amazon that she knew I was waiting on. I ran to greet her at the door and jumped up and down (yes, literally) to get my new book! I was so excited and thanked her for bringing it to me.
"Okay, okay," I said, as I held the book to my chest, "...ummmm,...book addictions don't count...because they're GOOD for you!"
Yep. True story.
Third (and lastly)...
On a more personal note, I'd like to say...it's an incredible thing to love. It's a gift, really. I believe it is a gift from God to be able to truly love. I don't think my own human heart/soul/mind (whatever you want to call it) is capable of feeling this kind of love on its own.
In my life, I've often felt that I love more than I am loved in return. I have had people, who say they love me, treat me in ways I would never treat someone I love. I used to long for someone to love me in the way I need to be loved. It's taken me a very long time to understand that it's in the way I love others that I find peace, not in how others love me back. I've also found there is great joy in knowing you love someone, even if you know they will never be able to love you in the same way.
So many people are looking for someone to love them. I have found that my heart is so full from loving other people, I no longer look to others to make me feel loved. I know God loves me, and He's been there for me when no one else has. He's taught me how to love, and He's healed my wounds. We've not always been on the best of terms, you know, but He's the only one who truly knows my heart.
It may sound like a bumper sticker from the 1960s, but it's true...
God is Love.