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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2002
Despite the many tales of life amongst Highland wildlife in this book, a great humanity pervades the whole. Sadly, today Rowena Farre would be considered an eccentric, yet she shows great strength and independance of spirit for a young girl, living alone with her aunt, in an isolated corner of Scotland in the thirties. Descriptions of daily life for the pair (which could include cutting peat for winter fires or washing a squirrel free of porridge)are interpersed with local people and folklore. To say this is a simple but wondrous account of a childhood belies the depth behind the experience. This should be compulsory reading for all who have lost their way in the superficiality of modern life.
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on 20 August 2014
I first read this book aged 13 (in the 'morning' of my life as Mr Fraser from the book might have said), chosen from my English class's Stock Room of books (must have been on the National Curriculum). At the time it made its mark on me as I remember how unreservedly I wept towards the end, something not previously, nor indeed since, experienced from a book. 28 years later (would that be the 'afternoon' of my life?) a second reading of this "mini classic" did not disappoint. One of my motives for buying the book was to read it to my 6 year old daughter and whilst I have read excerpts of it to her, she is too young to appreciate its beauty but I will definitely re-introduce her to the book when she is older. There is an interesting Afterword in this edition and I am now looking to read the other 2 books of Rowena Farre (Daphne Lois Macready) although her latter book is proving harder to source at a reasonable price. I hope that in the 'evening' of my life I will read Seal Morning for a third time and take equally whole-hearted delight in this charming book. If only I could thank Rowena Farre for her gift.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2000
If you have enjoyed Gavin Maxwell's "Ring of Bright Water" you will enjoy this book!
I first read Seal Morning as a child and have read it since as an adult. It is one of the most perfect "small" Scottish books; the setting is the living wilderness landscape of the north-west of Scotland, evoked by prose that is sparse and highly effective. Rowena and her aunt leave the Home Counties to live in Sutherland in a remote croft with their assorted pets and, of course, Lora the seal who could (after a fashion) play the xylophone, the mouth organ and even sing. The book tells of their lives (human, furred and feathered), joys and inevitable hardships while living there.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2009
Maurice Fleming, in his 'afterword' appended to Farre's narrative, claims "this is escapism of the best and purest kind" and he's right: Seal Morning is an alluring tale that effortlessly transports the reader to an uncomplicated life dominated by friendly countryside and even friendlier animals. It enchants with an elegant simplicity, and is a delight to read, especially if you have a sympathy for rustic charm and need something to soothe and relax.

But you have to suspend belief, because this is a fantasy world, a world far removed from the harsh reality of life on a remote croft in pre-war Sutherland, a rugged and often wild place. There aren't any elves, pixies or fairies as such, but you wouldn't be surprised if they appear amongst the singing, dancing animals: it wasn't just the humans who were multi-talented in this household!

On lending the book to a friend, his subsequent comment was "what a load of tosh"! And, in many ways I agree, because it cannot be accepted as a true and accurate account of seven years in a young girl's life. There are too many doubts, and Fleming suggests discrepancies with her other books. He also points out that no-one has been able to identify the location of this mysterious croft.

However, it works if approached as a fictionalised story based on real events: it is clear Farre has a sound knowledge and understanding of her subject based on personal experience. With her fluid prose, and a gift for story-telling, she has created a world that many will find eminently attractive in our more cynical age. We will never know how much is true and how much is the product of an active imagination, but perhaps it doesn't matter!

A reserved recommendation, then, but for a more realistic view of life in the Highlands I heartily advocate Iain Thomson's Isolation Shepherd.
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on 26 December 2013
The book is a fantastic read, and one which leaves you thinking about the narrative long after you've finished reading. The front cover was different to the one advertised, but still really nice. The front cover doesn't matter anyway, all that matters is the content- which is fantastic, and very inspiring.
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on 21 January 2012
A simple story of a young girl living with her aunt in a remote part of Scotland. Describes the various animals she befriends and cares for, and the rewards and hardships of remote living in the early to mid 1900's. A somewhat fluffy version of "Ring of Bright Water".
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on 11 March 2010
I adored this book when I was a little girl. I recently picked up the lovely old edition in a secondhand bookshop. After reading it again I love it just as much, if not more, than I did then. It has stood the test of time, and you can't say better than that!
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on 19 October 2013
Easy reading, well written and lovely descriptions. Some funny parts, some moving, excellent present for animal lovers and those who love the countryside
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2012
this book is absolutely wonderful. iv read that some think it wasnt all true. but you know what? i dont care. this book was so wonderful and magical to lose myself into. the magic of living on a farm with no electric and running water. being snowed in to the rafters at winter. having a seal living with you from baby and 2 otters and a couple squirrels.... its a wonderful book, hilarious. i thoroughly enjoyed it. iv ordered another one of rowena farre's old books as this one was so excellent. read it, you wont be disappointed. it is a really enjoyable book with lots of laughter in it... some people come to stay and her pet rat decides to get into the warm bed with them. ok... the guests scream and scream and the next day they pack and lots of interesting things always happening. i wish the book didnt have to come to an end. i loved it so much. another one i plan to re-read again x
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on 10 July 2015
Great novel
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