A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Book Review: Seawind

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On this Mysterious Monday, we review M. Blackwell’s Seawind, a short book that we were promised had many of our favorite things: a haunted inn, an anthropologist, and a magical black cat. Boy, did it deliver!

The plot

Seawind, by M. BlackwellSamantha Black (Sam) is an anthropologist who finds herself out of work. She’s trying to be an author, but the royalties aren’t exactly flowing in. We meet her as she’s lost on Cape Cod. A wrong turn brings her to Seawind, a weathered old home complete with gables. It’s now an inn that frankly has seen better days. Unfortunately the new innkeeper, Beth, who recently inherited the place, is barely able to pay the bills, much less make improvements. She does have a spectacular chef, Phil, and now she has a new dishwasher, Sam.

Sam moves into the attic rooms and begins settling in to her new, if temporary, life. It’s not bad, actually. She’s on the Cape in the off season, so there’s no pesky tourists crowding the beaches—great for long walks. But things get weird one night when Sam sees a ghost, and not just a ghost, an evil ghost. There is something unmistakably cruel and menacing about this man straight out of the nineteenth century. Even weirder is the strange wind, also supernatural, that chases the evil figure away. This, it transpires, is the Wild Hunt, straight out of myth and legend.

This event leads Sam into a search for the truth about the evil figure she saw and the supernatural wind pursuing him. As strange and violent events continue to happen on the Cape, she uses her research skills and teams up with a folklorist to delve into Seawind’s history and the myth of the Hunt to basically answer two questions: (1) Who is this man the Hunt is after? and (2) How can Sam and the other residents of the inn put a stop to the turmoil the Hunt is causing?

 As it turns out, solving the problem of all that supernatural stuff is a job for a cat.

Sebastian the cat

The main cat in Seawind is Sebastian, a handsome black fellow. According to the folklorist, cats know a lot about supernatural things (of course some of us already knew this). Though we don’t see Sebastian a lot throughout the book, we do get a glimpse of him every once in a while, and not surprisingly, it is he who saves the day by appearing at just the right moment. Another black cat makes a brief and touching appearance at the book’s end. This was just one of the things that made Seawind a very satisfying read.

Our verdict

Seawind is an engrossing read that we found hard to put down. It is also a fairly quick read (an estimated 79 pages), and it does indeed have many of our favorite things. First, the story is intriguing, and much of the writing is beautiful—especially the descriptions of Cape Cod in autumn. Those made us want to pack up and go straight there. Then there is the ghost. We love a good ghost, and an evil ghost being pursued by other supernatural forces.… Oh yes, please! The supernatural element is not scary (at least we didn't find it scary), and it adds a layer of mystery that also is what leads Sam into her search through the history of the house and surrounding area. The mythical element, the Hunt, is a sort of bonus, and of course we loved how Sebastian the cat is the key to quieting the Hunt and returning things to normal—or better than normal.

Our only complaint is that we wish Seawind were longer. Old SoLT’s inner editor kept seeing passages that could be expanded to give more detail of daily life at the inn, places where the historical and mythical elements could be delved into a little deeper. This is not a criticism, mind you; we just wanted to spend more time in the world of this book because we loved it so.


Two Paws Up--A Great Read!

A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good read; two paws is for a great read. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!

We received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. We wouldn’t tell you it was good unless we really liked it!

The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the book through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!


  1. I just downloaded it! This sounds *fantastic*...although I think I'll wait until around Halloween to read it :)

  2. Went and purchased a copy for my Kindle !

  3. If you do pack up for the Cape, let me know. I live in Mass. and it is about 3 hours away. This does sound like an interesting read.

  4. This book sounds right up my alley for a good summer read - I need short these days - so I just ordered it! Thanks for sharing about it!