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Selkie Dreams

Belfast, 1895. Haunted by her mother's death, Maire McNair is lured by the selkie myth to the promise of the Alaskan wilds to fulfil her dream of finding acceptance. Cunning and determination get her there in the guise of teaching at the Tlingit Indian mission. But Alaska proves more complex and difficult than she imagined, and the hope that this new place would transform her is elusive as ever. The censorious Mrs. Paxson, the wife of the trading post manager, constantly finds fault with Maire's efforts to instruct the native children. She has her own plans and Maire is in the way. Will Maire be able to forge her own way and make a success of her teaching? And what should she do about the handsome yet moody Lieutenant Green who is aggressively courting her? Natsilane is the Tlingit erstwhile mission protege. Troubled and disaffected, he finds himself battling Maire's naive views and prejudices as he seeks to regain his own cultural identity by resuming a traditional lifestyle that draws from the Tlingit myth. But he cannot escape his past with the mission, nor can he or Maire escape the mutual attraction they feel. In a world that permits no rule breakers, will the power of myths trump all?
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About the Author

Originally from Philadelphia, Kristin Gleeson lives in Ireland, in the West Cork Gaeltacht, where she teaches art classes, plays harp, sings in an Irish choir and runs two book clubs for the village library. She holds a Masters in Library Science and a Ph.D. in history, and for a time was an administrator of a national archives, library and museum in America. There she handled the letters, diaries, reports and artefacts of Alaskan missionaries and assisted Tlingit Indians in recovering their land and their past. Later, she served as a public librarian in America and in Ireland. She has also written history freelance and published articles and essays in reference works and academic books. Myths and other folk tales have always fascinated her and she combined her love of these tales with her harp playing and performed as a professional harper/storyteller at events in Britain, America and Ireland.


"I don't know if "Selkie Dreams" is the first novel to combine the story of a lonely nineteenth century Belfast childhood, a Presbyterian mission in Alaska, and the life and culture of the Alaskan native people, the Tlingit, that the mission serves, but I do know that this is a beautifully calibrated and vivid and interesting historical novel about love and death in the North American wilderness, that the characters are fascinating, that the evocation of the natural world and the social customs and practices of Tlingit is assured and convincing, and that the story, albeit melancholy, is unfailingly engaging. I wish it well." --Carlo Gebler, author of "The Siege of Derry"

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