1686, ICELAND. 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 talk of it. Instead he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies.
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
This is one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it. The characters, general plot and writing style are amazing! You get dragged into 17th century Iceland head first and it definitely doesn’t let you go easily. Lea’s descriptive writing is top notch and something that I fell completely in love with.
Rosa is a character that you bond with easily enough, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her character growth through the book, from meek and feeble to being strong enough to admit to a crime she didn’t commit to protect a man she loved. You can easily feel through the writing what it would have been like to live in the era as a woman, not having the rights we have now and being solely reliant on a husband to provide for you, choosing your friends and what kind of life you should lead
The true evil in this book is ultimately the church and religion, making people feel that their beliefs and feelings went against god. As soon as someone admitted to another belief system it was deemed witchcraft and the penalty was burning at the stake. You cant come away from reading this book without experiencing some kind of emotion, knowing that this in fact did happen and many people were killed just for expressing beliefs others didn’t agree with. I went through a rigmarole of emotions reading this book from pity at Rosa’s decision to marry a man she didn’t love for her mother, the fear of not knowing what or who was in the locked attic and the sadness at the inevitable but still slightly heartbreaking ending.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, thought I think there were parts where it dragged slightly and I felt like some of the plot twists were lacklustre. Lea makes up for it with her amazing writing skills and fantastic and believable characters. 3.5 out of 5.