Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey
Published: June 2013
Genre: young adult, gothic, paranormal
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever.
With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make a wager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.
When Liam and Anna meet on an island far off the coast of Maine with deep Irish roots, the world as they know it ends. He is completely engrossed with her. She is deeply enchanted by him. Everyone else, from banshees to Selkies to villagers, has a different plan in mind for these two. Trial after trial is thrown upon them, and their love for one another is tested to the limit. Based on Poe’s chilling, haunting poem, “Annabel Lee,” one may know the ending — but the journey is a deeply heart-wrenching tale.
Celtic folklore mixed with my favorite Poe poem is bound to be a recipe for greatness. Lindsey’s knowledge of Irish fairies — true fairies, not the pixie Tinkerbells of Disney — truly helped to flesh out this haunting tale. Liam is such a tragic character, so full of love and hope and determination to live despite the horrible way the villagers treat him. Anna is a unique character, one with a face for the dramatic press and tabloids, and a heart with deep dreams, aspirations, and compassion. They are meant to be, and it’s easy to fall in love with their love.
The setting was absolutely remarkable, but I wish it didn’t have to be an American coast. Why was it necessary to have the island close to Maine? Why have all these deep Celtic roots on a fictionalized American island? It would make far more sense for the island to be closer to the homeland. There are plenty of ways for Anna’s character to be famous — she can fly to the island from Dublin, Edinburgh, London. Not that the island’s location is central to the story, but that bit did ruffle my feathers.
Liam’s mind is like reading a very lyrical poem. I was completely mesmerized.
One thought on “Book Review: “Ashes on the Waves” by Mary Lindsey”
How cool that someone wrote a book based on one of Poe’s poems. I’m going to have to check this book out just for that fact alone. Great review.