Maybe I should add a horror category to my blog… At the beginning of this dark fantasy romance novella, a human child, Mairi, meets a kelpie child, Olphia, who offers to give her gills in exchange for a kiss. Both lonely children find solace in their friendship until adults realise what’s going on and go on a kelpie hunt. Nine years later, as she’s about to marry a man she doesn’t know, Mairi goes back to the river and the young women get reacquainted.
Mairi is sweet and trusting, Olphia is terrifying and complex, at once murderous and caring. The dynamic between them is exciting, not entirely balanced as Olphia could easily kill Mairi and that’s what makes it so interesting: just because she could doesn’t mean she will. Or will she?
Once again, Lois Ridge’s narration does justice to this Scottish folklore retelling.