The Sealwoman's Gift (Hardcover) by Sally Magnusson

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List Price: £16.99

Hardcover: 384 Pages.

Published: 08 February 2018 by Two Roads

ISBN: 147363895X

EAN: 9781473638952

Review by Debra Found

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars (4 from a possible 5)

Rich in Detail

It is 1627 and hundreds of Icelandic people are torn from their homeland to become slaves in Algiers. We follow the fate of Asta, the minister's wife, and her family as they struggle for survival. Will Asta ever return to her homeland and what of little Jon born in the hold of the slave ship? He knows no life other than that of a slave boy.

The detail in this book is fantastic. The whole book is three dimensional and stands out from the page rich in the Icelandic mythology and the colours of the African city.  I could feel the cold wind almost ready to blow people from the cliff's edge and the grinding and difficult poverty on the Icelandic island. I loved the stories from the Icelandic mythology that date back far beyond the 1600s. I also enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of the vibrant city created in Algiers. There is no doubt that the author has the ability to bring her writing to life. I also applaud the lengthy research which must have gone into this book especially as so much of it is based on fact - many of the people in this book really existed. Do take the time to read the notes in the back.

The characters are well written and three dimensional. Each one of the major characters has its own personality which in the case of Asta and her husband are really very complex. Poor old Asta torn between the homeland and husband she once knew and the warm, rich land that she has grown to love and which holds her children.

This book is a slow burner. In fact with the exception of the kidnapping of the Icelanders at the beginning there is little in the way of action. That is fine by me and I am happy to enjoy a book that takes it's time. There are one or two places where the book did start to drag. It never got to the point of me wanting to discard the book but I became hesitant to pick it up again for a day or so. This is all that stopped it being a five star read for me. There were a couple of occasions when I started to feel that we were marking time, particularly during Asta's time in slavery.

I really did enjoy this book and would be keen to read other books by this author. However, I suspect that due to the diligence she puts into her research it may be a while before we see another!

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

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