Disclaimer: This book was kindly gifted to me by Pan Macmillan SA in exchange for an honest review.
On Christmas Eve, 1617, the sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardo is thrown into a reckless storm. As Maren Magnusdatter watches, forty fishermen, including her father and brother, are lost to the waves – the menfolk wiped out in an instant.
Vardo is now a place of women.
Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of Vardo to heel. With him travels with his young wife, Ursa. In Vardo, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place flooded with a terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs…
The Mercies is inspired by real events of the Vardo storm and the 1621 witch trials. With that, I had to do my research after reading this book in order to be aware of what really happened (am I the only one who does this? I hope not). Kiran accounted these events in a beautiful manner and the book flowed perfectly until the end. I loved how she portrayed her characters, I was able to create bonds with them thus increasing my enjoyment. It’s actually interesting how Vardo became a place of women and then a few months later, a man was summoned to control the women. How from centuries ago women were inferior and that continued for centuries after. The book also touched on the fact that we as women also work against each other trying to bring each other down. One would have thought that as it was a place full of women, they should have protected each other at all costs but they played a role in each other’s downfall.
My heart broke at the horrible events inflicted to women in the name of religion. I had so many questions throughout the book. This book is packed with interesting relationships. However, the growth of Ursa and Maren’s relationship was amazing to witness and it just stood out for me.
The Mercies is a story about how suspicion can twist its way through a community, and a love that may prove as dangerous as it is powerful.
Knowing that The Mercies is Kiran’s first adult book is just mind-blowing. I’ll definitely read a book by her in the future. I cannot recommend this enough especially if you want a book that would make you feel all the feels.
Title: The Mercies; Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave; Published: 28 January 2020; Publisher: Pan Macmillan SA; Genre: Historical Fiction, Lesbian Literature; Page count: 342
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