About The Book
An isolated, windswept land haunted by witch trials and steeped in the ancient sagas . . .
Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.
But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not speak of it.
The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?
Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming.
She fears she will be its next victim . . .
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have read books set in Iceland before but never one set in the 1600s. I imagined it to be similar to one set at the same time in the UK, but I was wrong. I have never read a book like this before.
There are many reasons, the snow is just one. The book takes place between October and December and the weather is pretty grim. I just can’t imagine anything like the conditions described. How you could cause damage to your skin by wiping away tears.
There are the sagas, the folklore, the superstition, the attitudes towards them by the more religious people. The threat of execution for those who believed in something different. The way of living and coping with extreme poverty and the ways in which some would use that to their advantage to get what they want.
I felt tense at times reading it, mainly because I couldn’t work out which way the novel would go. Was Rósa safe from Jon and Petur or would they do her harm? Would she be able to make friends in the community or would she be regarded with suspicion and resentment.
Most of the time it is about Rósa but there are increasing accounts from Jon and it is was these that gave insight into what happened with Anna, Petur and the way he dealt with the consequences.But it was Rosa’s story I preferred. I admired her will, her passion and her loyalty. And I found what happened towards the end of the novel concerning what was in the loft one of the more moving parts of the novel.
I loved this book, the claustrophobic atmosphere, all of the characters and the loyalty, emotion and stubborness shown by Rósa and her friend Katrin was remarkable.