by Ananda Braxton-Smith

November 2, 2019

Carrick Island is crusted with salt and riddled with secrets in this sea-worthy novel by Ananda Braxton-Smith.  Readers will be carried away on waves of lyrical writing and vivid lore throughout the pages of Merrow. This coming-of-age novel tells the story of a young girl’s struggle with processing grief and a damaged relationship with her young aunt. With all of the rumors regarding her family, it’s nearly impossible to tell truth from tale. The fascinating mythology of the island and different religious beliefs blend together in delicately woven webs of wishes and desires, bringing a feeling of hope and warmth to this journey of self-discovery. Mysteries are solved and families are brought together as truths are revealed, though some secrets will forever remain hidden.

Ananda Braxton-Smith incorporates words from the dying Manx language of Isle of Man as well as words from Old Norse. The inclusion of these languages is executed in a way that adds to Merrow's authenticity and myth-like style of story-telling. While the book was peppered with a few noticeable grammar and punctuation errors, the story never failed to captivate and enthrall me. From cover to cover, Merrow's bits and pieces of history and lore being stitched together held my interest and satisfied my thirst for adventure.

Kayla M. Ware

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