Tuesday, June 22

Book Review: The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Title: The Mercies
Genre: Historical Fiction, LGBT
Format: ebook
Pages: 345
Published: February 6th 2020
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves.

Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband's authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil.

As Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them, with Absalom's iron rule threatening Vardø's very existence.

Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, The Mercies is a story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the edge of civilization.

A couple of friends had read this so I wanted to check it out. Made my mini book club read this ;)

We follow Maren in 1617 who watched a storm come out of nowhere and kill forty fishermen. With the menfolk gone, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø, Norway now must fend for themselves. Three years later, something more sinister figure arrives....Absalom Cornet. He has burned his fair share of witches in Scotland and with his wife, in tow, he comes to this town and sees these godless independent women and it must be witchcraft at play. As Maren and his wife are drawn together in ways that surprise them and scares them, Absalom's iron rule threatens Vardø's very existence. 

I never knew about the Vardo storm and the witch trials that happened right after in that town. So dang sad!!!!! That poor town and those poor people. Gah. It feels me with utter rage.

"OH KNOW! WOMEN FISHING?????? WEARING PANTS????? WHA? WITCHES!" LOLL What idiots. What were they going to do? Just starve? "Whelp...there goes our men...so I guess we just crawl in this wee hole and die. Oh wellllll." SMH

Now, the beginning was a little bit of a drag tbh. It took a while to really get...interesting. Yes, it started off with the storm and was sad, but it did drag. 

I also did not feel the chemistry between Maren and Ursa. Can't pinpoint why or what was missing, but it seemed forced at times esp with the tub scene. Maybe if they had more time to build this love I would've bought it more. 

Looking past the issues I had, the author did a wonderful job bringing the world to life and the characters were extremely fleshed out. I enjoyed our journey even though the insanity of the zealous Christians made me want to screeeaaam. It was sad and made me feel all the feelings.

Overall, I had some issues especially in the beginning, but I did like this...I wished I had liked this, but it was okay. It made me feel all the feelings. Those poor people. I'll give this 3 stars. 



Sophia Rose said...

At first, I thought the story was how the women triumphed after the loss of their men, but a witch hunter ignorant guy on top of that? I can see why you had all the feels.

Blodeuedd said...

Omg I liked this one more than you! ;) It seldom happens.

But damn zealots!!!!

Jen Twimom said...

This sounds like a very interesting tale, but I don't know if I'm up for it. Maybe I'll find a documentary.

Carole Rae said...

Sophia, right???? I would've liked that better. Women taking charge! But egags the crazy religions nuts come and ruin it.

B, awwww you did! I think you liked it a hair more than me.

Jen, ooooh I am curious if they have a documentary somewhere! I'd watch that!

Lorna @Mollykatie112 said...

This sounds like it’s got a horrible ending. I’m just a wuss that can’t do super unhappy endings.

Carole Rae said...

Not the happiest ending. I don't blame you. Sometimes those endings and books like this is not for everyong.