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Seal Island    by Kate Brallier order for
Seal Island
by Kate Brallier
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

When Cecilia 'Cecil' Hargrave gets an unexpected inheritance from her Aunt Allegra, she seizes it as an ideal excuse to take a break from her stagnant life and derailed career. Soon she's on her way to the quaint Seal Island in Maine, where there are surprises galore in store for her. First there's the inheritance itself a beautiful house by the beach and a profitable little business. And then there's the playful seal that Allegra had nurtured and released into the wild, and which has now returned.

But not everything is hunky-dory for Cecil. The locals are unable to conceal their shock at Cecil's uncanny resemblance to her aunt. No one seems willing to talk about the mystery surrounding Allegra's sudden death. And then there are Richard, Tom and Ronan three very different but eligible, good-looking men who find Cecil fascinating. With romance and passion tugging her heart in one direction even as intuition pulls her in another, Cecil finds her stay at Seal Island becoming more exciting and perilous than she dreamed possible.

Kate Brallier creates a constant atmosphere of tension and haunting romance. The story meanders but still manages to keep readers hooked, largely due to the secrets and surprises that the author reveals. Cecil's an entrancing mixture of vulnerability and determination, and while all her decisions may not sit well with readers, there's no doubting the authenticity of her emotions. Although the book is overall entertaining, it is also at least a chapter too long. The author tries to eke out the suspense towards the end, but fails as the ending becomes increasingly obvious. Despite this, Seal Island remains an enticing paranormal romance.

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