Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry

Poetic expression, beautiful setting, and a rich mythological yarn meet in this attractive reprint of Rosalie K. Fry’s 1957 novel. The lead character, Fiona McConville, returns to her native Western Isles having had to live for an unhappy time on the mainland. As she finds a warm and welcoming home with her grandparents, the gently flowing plot takes Fiona back to her original home – the now deserted Ron Mor – and to some of the more difficult times and traumas which her family have had to face.

Fry has managed to combine a zesty sense of child-led adventure, with themes which are at once unsettling and profoundly life affirming. The issues of bereavement, loss, and the need to keep going in spite of dreadful events are not easy themes to incorporate into children’s fiction, but Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry manages to in a way which is sensitive and sure-footed, drawing on the best traditional Scottish folklore to frame its more complex themes. The result is a story which is incredibly moving and inspiring, and one which will easily bring tears to the eyes of children who can independently read, and to those of adults reading to younger children. The lyrical text is sensitively offset by the author’s own illustrations, whose simplicity easily harmonises with the contours of the story.

A simple tale, warmly told, and highly recommended.