A strangely fascinating story of 10th/11th century Norse settlements in Greenland. Based partly on old Viking stories of Eirik the Red and Leif Eirikson, it follows three women's lives and the conflict of the old Norse religion with the newly arrived Christianity.
I enjoyed the main character in this book. It was pretty dark but also very cool with all the ancient rituals and ways of life. I thought the entrance of the christians was well done.
Throughout this book, I got the sense that the author Judith Lindberg put a great amount of research into the time and place.
I really wanted to like this novel. However, there was no real joy or poignant turning points in character or plot. There was no one character I found myself cheering for. Katla is damaged but then goes on to hate and damage psychologically her own daughter. Thorbjorg notes the growing malevolency in Bibrau and tries to wrench it out of her with utter strictness, which included locking her in a cold dank shed naked for 3 days. Eventually, after knowing little kindness over a lifetime, Bibrau puts her hand to a series of evil deeds. While I found this novel interesting, it did not strike a cord as other anti-heroic novels had (Wuthering Heights, Brave New World).
The narrator Virginia Leishman really put herself into this book in emotional expression. She also pronounced character and place names with accuracy. The story is told in first person, switching between the three women. I sometimes had trouble distinguishing by voice alone which character was talking.
I am surprised this one is still on my shelf. It was one of the most original stories I had read in years. The main character begins life as a Thrall which is a slave, she learns healing and becomes a kind of witch. Her fortunes continue in this up and down manner, exalted to despised and sometimes loved. It is the story of the Viking Culture, of commerce, politics religion and the politics of religion. There is certainly romance and there is great loyalty. I hope some one orders it so this great work does not sit unappreciated on my shelf.