Top positive review
Good attention to detail
on 7 August 2014
This is a piece of well researched Nordic historical fiction. The use of colloquial language, character and place names together with the customs and practices of the time, interweave seamlessly with the heroine's story.
The story centres around Emer's gift of being able to see the future through her dreams. When she meets Atli it is this gift which will make her valuable to him. He will want to keep her within his sphere of influence and marry her to his eldest son, Hari. It is difficult to know if the harsh environment, or being a woman, makes her physically weak. She suffers in the beginning from the long journey following her father and at the end of the novel she stumbles through the heath trying to evade her captors. However she does have other less traditional skills, which can be seen when she wins a contest against one of the women with a bow and arrow.
Emer is portrayed very sympathetically, especially compared to the spiteful Drifa, although I feel her character is limited by the times she lived in. Inner monologue is limited as the book centres more on the action of the story to move things forward. There also appears to be little identifying speech, there does not appear to be any words, or phrases, specifically linked to her character.
The men, in contrast, are portrayed as big, strong, good fighters and protectors of the village. Atli and his son Hari are also portrayed as good negotiators and strategists, compared to the harshness of Rolf, the youngest son. Atli's life has been spent trading with his neighbours, Rolf sees more profit in taking what he wants. Hari appears to have inherited his father's intellectual acumen, but I am not convinced of Emer's ability to reawaken his interest in women and away from a monastic life.
The conclusion to this story is spectacular, with a definite sense of justice, order and resolution to the book.