Sea of Whispers by Tim Bowler
Published January 3 2013 Oxford University Press
Hetty lives with her grandmother on the remote island of Mora.
She has always thought of herself as...different. Hetty sees things - mysterious shapes in pieces of sea glass she finds along Mora's many coves and beaches. However, the shapes never seem to mean anything - that is until the day of a great storm, a shipwreck, and a woman is washed ashore. A stranger in Mora.
The woman is the image Hetty has been seeing in the sea glass, and even in her weakened state, she seems to recognise Hetty too.
Many of the islanders are not so accepting of the stranger's arrival however. The Elders see her as an ill omen - a jinx, who not only created the storm but wrecked their boat. Soon accusations of witchcraft are flying and Hetty finds herself fighting to protect the sea glass stranger, with extreme results.
I found Sea of Whispers mesmerising. Its so lyrical. I flew through this novel. The islanders' hostility was very powerfully depicted. Its a novel that certainly reaches the reader's emotions.
One aspect I loved is that the reader is unaware of the time setting for this novel. The remote community is very self-sufficient with no mentions of technology. It could be of an ancient people or it could be more recent. I like my history so I prefer to think of Mora at an Iron Age sort of time (no roundhouses though!).
Sea of Whispers is the first Tim Bowler novel I have read, and I am looking forward to reading more.