In addition to her crime and horror writing, Chris Longmuir has put her ‘pen to paper’ and come up with a romantic fishing saga set in 1830s North East Scotland. In reality, this book was written first but it wasn’t until this summer that Chris decided to publish it on Amazon and Smashwords. She’s far better known for her crime writing and her novel, Dead Wood, won the prestigious Dundee Book Prize in 2009.
The fisher folk of the village of Craigden are a proud people and don’t take kindly to outsiders. Belle Watts turns the village on its ear when she arrives as the bride of James and Annie Watt’s eldest son, Jimmie.
Belle wants a better life than that of a fishwife whose husband works on his father’s boat. Her husband wants to get a boat of his own. To that end, Jimmie is persuaded by Belle to sign on with one of the whaling vessels. When he leaves on his first voyage, things on the home front become far more complicated.
Chris’s descriptive narrative brings the setting to life with ease making you feel like you’re actually there experiencing things first hand. From the moment Belle arrives and is forced to share a small stone cottage with Jimmie’s parents and siblings, there is no privacy – eight people living in this one-room building with a net loft. In addition to the aromas this conjures up, you can smell the salt air, the fresh farmland above the cliffs and envision a tiny village clinging to the base of the cliff.
Her characters have their strengths and weaknesses and she portrays them so that we empathize with them and like them. Belle is strong yet vulnerable. She has a past that isn’t totally revealed but implied. Other characters play off these characteristics for the good and the bad and the results… well, I’m not saying anything else because it will spoil the story.
A Salt Splashed Cradle is an excellent read. At 280 pages (about 83,000 words), it can be read in a day because once you start, you won’t want to put it down.
The trailer for A Salt Splashed Cradle can be viewed on You Tube here. If you watch and listen to this first, I guarantee you’ll hear Chris reading the book while you read it. I know I do.
If you don’t have a Kindle or the Kindle app for other devices, you can download it for the Sony, Nook, Kobo etc., from Smashwords for $3.99 US.