After a storm has killed off all the island’s men, two women in a 1600s Norwegian coastal village struggle to survive against both natural forces and the men who have been sent to rid the community of alleged witchcraft.
Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Bergensdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Northern town of Vardø must fend for themselves.
Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God and flooded with a mighty evil.
As Maren and Ursa are pushed together and are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence.
Oof this book was something else!
I got this book from Books That Matter and I absolutely LOVED it. It was so interesting and I thought the pacing was amazing. I will admit that there were parts of the book that I found myself wondering where we were going but overall I really enjoyed it.
Set on the small island of Vardo, when all the men are killed in a storm, the women have to start looking after themselves.
However, three years after the storm Absalom Cornett is sent to the island along with his new wife Ursa.
Ursa is fascinated by the lives these independent women lead, she has never seen anything like it, however, Cornett is furious, he believes that the devil is at work.
I loved watching Ursa start to come into her own with the friendship hard-earned with Maren. Soon enough though the friendship turns into a sexual relationship, which I was happy about but Cornett was not at all ok with that.
For me, I found that things only got worse once Cornett and Ursa arrived. It was mainly Cornett due to his beliefs that women cannot control themselves. In his completely wrong opinion, a man needs to be in charge.
I thought this book was really great, I really enjoyed it.