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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
“The song of the sea flows from a deep heart, pulsing with a spirit that can never be broken.” After the deaths of their parents, Tomas Alvarado and his younger siblings are cared by their Abuela Magdalena, a no-nonsense but kind grandmother matriarch, offering them familial salvation. As he reaches the age of 16, Tomas joins the Spanish navy, and becomes embroiled in the Anglo-Spanish War. When their armada is forced to flee north into more dangerous stormy waters on the long way home, Tomas is shipwrecked near the west coast of Ireland and rescued by Nuala Ryan, an Irish maiden with whom he falls in love. Their story spans over centuries where the sea continues to shape one’s destiny.
The Siren Sea by Erin Eldridge is a story of tragedy, family, war, faith, hardships, and love. To be frank, Part One－Tomas and Nuala’s story－is the one that resonated with me the most. The tragedy that struck Tomas’s family is a sad read, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know his grandmother and the way she expertly guided him toward his naval career with the help of her friend, Captain de la Fuente. His time with the Ryans is even more interesting to read; his attempts to communicate, repay their kindness, and defend his love for Nuala are engrossing and emotional at the same time.
That said, the rest makes for grand tales on their own. In Part Two, Jamie and Meggie Kennedy are a husband and wife enduring the Great Famine with the support of their relatives, and Part Three is an immigration story of 18-year-old Mary Kennedy to New Zealand. Her journey across the sea to the new world partly echoes her Spaniard ancestor’s own seafaring experience as the story comes full circle with an excellent epilogue. Narrated with sublime prose, Eldridge’s The Siren Sea is an engaging, evocative read filled with memorable characters.