Ilie Ruby’s The Salt God’s Daughter takes us to the beaches and fields in Southern California with an itinerant wandering of two girls and their troubled mom, Diana (meaning “heavenly, divine”). Often alone and homeless, Ruthie and Dolly cling to one another — it’s these two sisters against the world, as they search for home in a world made magical with Jewish mysticism and Scottish legend.

The myths and legends of the moon, the sea, and transformative change seep through the pages of this novel. Their mother’s stories give them strength and courage — perhaps enough to last a lifetime — but there was still so much left unsaid, mysterious, and never known.

Silkie & The Sea

The ocean calls to Ruthie and Dolly, and the words of The Farmer’s Almanac are a constant source of wisdom both in their transient wanderings with their mother, and later. Ruthie continues to search for truth and meaning. She saw what happened to their mother, she experienced the seal spirits, and then, she fell in love with a mysterious figure who emerged from the sea under a blue moon.

Their lives are inextricably linked with the power of the waves. The seals (selkies) speak and shed their skins, and Naida has inexplicable powers — born to her with her name meaning “nymph.” She knows more than she should, and she’s the daughter of that mysterious Graham, a “salt god,” who loves her but cannot stay.

The moon is a constant. It gives, but it also takes.

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