Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Bergensdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty ...more
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However, my experience with 'The Mercies' could not be more different. I adored this book. The story, the ...more
’I remember once when runes gave you comfort, when sailors came to my father to cast bones and tell them of their time left to come. They are a language, Maren. Just because you do not speak it doesn’t make it devilry.’
back in the reviewing saddle.
so, no—as i anticipated, this was not scary enough to be a true ‘october is spoooooky’ read, and reviewing it in december feels even less spooky, but it is an excellent book nonetheless; female-fronted historical fiction that reminded me of the novels ...more
‘With her characteristic tenderness and prose that tides between the carnal and the sublime, Kiran Millwood Hargrave illuminates one of the darkest chapters of our history. In The Mercies, she sweeps us to a place that dazzles and reeks and chills to the bone, where the hearts of women roar louder than storms. She is an outstanding talent, and wherever her imagination sails next, I will follow.’
Beautifully written and well researched, it captures the sense of isolation and the eerie atmosphere of place and time. The characters are well formed, specially the strong women of Vardø.
This is a story of hardships, love, trust & fear - it’s heartbreaking.
Thank you NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for the advanced copy.
And boy did it live up to my expectations!
Her flowery and lyrical writing was perfect for this historical fiction and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store. This book was just pure perfection and I can’t wait for you guys to read it! Highly recommend!
Trigger warnings for loss of loved ones, suicidal thoughts, rape, sexism and some ...more
Maren and the other women are not aware of the consequences that this storm is going to have on the lives of their island town. As the storm subsides, the women observe the detritus rolling in towards them ...more
This is a wonderfully crafted Nordic novel, atmospheric without ever losing touch of its human heart. It's not a sweeping historical epic, despite its majestic and brutal setting: instead, The Mercies explores the themes of suspicion and trust, love ...more
It’s Christmas in a remote part of Norway (which may now be Finland) and the women of a small village on a small island watch in horror as a storm blows up out of nowhere and wipes out all the menfolk. Their grief ...more
Based in part on some true events the story starts with a storm in which 40 fishermen from the small town of Vardø are drowned at sea leaving just the womenfolk to try and cope with their losses and also to survive. Tensions between the women gradually begin to surface and with the arrival of a ...more
This was a very atmospheric novel, you can almost feel that you are on the island of Vardo. The cold and isolated lives the people there must have lived. The witch hysteria and the repression of the local beliefs and customs by Christianity has always been an interesting subject for me. You really end up really fearing for the women, the constant possibility that you could be the next person to be accused would ...more
I really liked the concept of The Mercies, and wanted to enjoy the book more than I did. Hargrave has obviously done a great deal of historical research, and doesn't shy away from the gory details - which was admirable (although also nauseating in parts!). Her writing style - which some have deemed atmospheric - I found overwritten and contrived, so I found it hard to get involved in the book, or care deeply about the ...more
What intrigued me the most about this book was that it was not set in the usual places for witch trials. Kiran Millwood Hargrave takes us up north to Vardo, a Norwegian island, to tell a story based off ...more
The author really brings this whole sorry period in human history to life with powerful characters, description of the area and meticulous research.
It is a book that will stay with me. The mark of any good historical novel for me is when I want to learn more about the actual events and this novel ...more
A devastating storm brings tragedy to a Norwegian island, causing a shipwreck that kills all the men, leaving the women to forge a life on the island alone. A year and a half later a Scot arrives, sent there to dominate and control the island's women and to return them to their "proper place". Along with him came his young, meek wife who is fascinated by the strong women she finds, and begins to build a strong bond with one of them.
Her books include the bestselling winner of the British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year and the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2017 The Girl of Ink & Stars, and Costa Book Awards- and Blue Peter Awards-shortlisted The Island at the End of Everything, and The Way Past Winter is forthcoming in October 2018. ...more