The Mercies

This book was everything I wanted and more. With the beautifully rendered prose, the gorgeous scenery, the captivating plot, it is one of the better books I’ve read this year. The tale starts slow then grows into a tempest, bewitching in all aspects.

READ IF YOU…

  • Enjoy witch hunt books
  • Want a moody read
  • Want a book with a historical backdrop

TitleThe Mercies| Author: Kiran Millwood HargraveRating: 4/5

Beautiful prose set in the 1600s in Finnmark, now part of Norway. A storm has killed off 40 of the island’s men, leaving mostly women to fend for themselves in a time when a woman fishing to eat is considered abnormal and unruly.

The book is set against the historical background of the witch hunts of the 1620s in Norway, in a time when the Sami people were being rid of or Christianized, and women were expected to tend to husband, children, and home only.

This book was everything I wanted and more. With the beautifully rendered prose, the gorgeous scenery, the captivating plot, it is one of the better books I’ve read this year. The tale starts slow then grows into a tempest, bewitching in all aspects.

Twenty-year-old Maren Bergensdatter is one of the womenfolk of the island. Ursa, the new woman on the island and wife to an authoritative and somewhat abusive husband, Absolom, befriends Maren, even when most of the other women on the island dislike Ursa for being wealthier. Maren and Ursa are pushed together and are drawn to one another, first as islanders, then as friends, and then as something more.

But Absalom then starts accusing women of witch craft and sentencing them to execution. One of the women accused: Maren’s sister-in-law, whose husband (Maren’s brother) died in the sea storm that took 39 other lives. Women are executed one by one, until some are forced to flee or be killed. Then, Absalom accuses others. Then, Ursa makes a mistake, one she can’t undo, and has to figure out how to save herself.

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