Rated Reads

Ashes on the Waves

by Mary Lindsey

Rated: Mild

All Liam MacGregor has ever known is being ostracized and mistreated by his whole village on the tiny island of Dochas, far off the coast of Maine. With his lame arm and a mother who died at his birth under strange circumstances, it’s clear to all of these superstitious folk that he is part demon. So he works at the store run by the only woman in town who is kind to him and just gets by, waiting for the day the demon will inevitably take over.

When famous socialite Anna Leighton comes back to stay at her family’s old estate, Liam can’t help but be at least excited to see her; they played together as small children. And when she seems to show interest in him, he is completely shocked. He doesn’t want to show a dark side to her or put her in danger, but he does immediately save her from being lured to throw herself in the depths of the sea by the evil creatures who live there. Somehow the two young people fall in love, despite their very different backgrounds.

Because of the wailing of some other creatures from the Otherworld, Anna and Liam both come to realize they need to find answers to a couple of mysterious deaths from the past. Not only that, but there are also other mysteries to be solved. But the Otherworld beckons still, and time is short for the two lovers. Is it possible to outrun a curse? Or for love to triumph over death?

Ashes on the Waves is a gripping story of love and mystery infused with old-world folk tales, all based on Edgar Allan Poe’s sad and haunting poem “Annabel Lee.” I really enjoyed how the author built a novel on the scaffolding of that poem and led each chapter with quotes from Poe’s writings.

Rated: Mild, for occasional mild and moderate language and some making-out scenes that don’t involve much detail. There is the possible implication of sexual activity late in the book, but it’s completely “off-screen” and comes only after a “binding” ceremony.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Ashes on the Waves
  • by Mary Lindsey
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: