by Kirsty Logan
Reviewed by Ealish Waddell
On the islands, status depends on the solidity of the ground beneath your feet. The oldest and richest families live on the high hills amid the fertile farmland, while the lower classes cling to the muddy slopes of the reclaimed soil just above the tideline. And then there are the damplings, who live on the sea itself and pride themselves on never setting foot on solid ground.
North is one of the latter. Born on a circus ship, she has spent her life as a entertainer, traveling among the far-flung islands performing for damplings and landlockers alike. The bizarre characters of the troupe are the closest thing the orphaned girl has to a family, although none is closer to her heart than the bear with whom she performs every night.
But this way of life is soon to come to an end. It’s long been expected that North would marry the son of the ringmaster and leave the circus boats for a house on the land — a future that holds no interest for her, but one she feels she cannot escape.
Then a violent storm leads North to Callanish, and destiny appears to have a different idea.
Callanish is a gracekeeper, sentinel of the watery equatorial graveyards. She lives alone on a tiny, isolated island, having chosen self-exile as punishment for a long-ago mistake. Their meeting sets a spark alight as the two souls recognize in each other a kindred spirit. And it’s that connection that will give each woman the hope and the courage she needs to take control of her own fate.