The atmosphere of this novel is so dark, and foreboding, her writing so incredibly detailed. I felt the cold, the hunger as the settlers face one of the coldest winters ever, and the fear as things are happening that are not easily understood. It is easy to fall back on superstitions, cries of witchcraft and a return to the old ways. The Swedish Lapland, not an easy place to live, hearty, hardworking people, tasked with survival and dictated to by their church. Even here, politics are at play and things happen that cannot have a rational explanation. Evil is said to rule this mountain area and though the Laplanders are said to have converted to Christianity, the settlers are still very distrustful and suspicious of this group of hardy nomads.
Maija and her family come here and become involved in a situation seemingly without explanation. Her and her two daughters will suffer greatly and her daughter Fredricka will form an alliance that some will call unholy, a lasting legacy.
A wonderful winter read, and I loved reading about the culture and traditions of these group of early settlers to Lapland. The churches influence and the political struggle. But, ultimately the story is about Maija and daughters, the old ways and the suspicions of those ways. Wonderfully written, with some very interesting characters. A first book from an author I expect big things from.
ARC from Netgalley.