In 2011 Freya Dane, a Ph.D. candidate in archaeology, arrives on the ancient Scottish island of Findnar. After years of estrangement from her father, himself an archaeologist who recently died, Freya has come to find out what she can about his work. As she reads through his research notes, she sees he learned a great deal about the Viking and Christian history of the island. But what he found only scratches the surface of the discoveries Freya is about to make.
In 800 A.D. a Pictish girl named Signy loses her entire family during a Viking raid. She is taken in by the surviving members of the Christian community on Findnar, but when she falls deeply in love with a Viking boy, she is cast out. She eventually becomes a nun and finds herself at the center of the clash between the island’s three religious cultures. The tragedy of her story is that, in the end, she must choose among her adopted faith, her native religion, and the man she loves.
Centuries apart, Freya and Signy are each on the verge of life-changing events that will bring present-day and Viking-era Scotland together. The Island House plunges the reader into a past that never dies and a love that reaches out across a thousand years. (taken from Goodreads)
Title: The Island House, Author: Posie Graeme-Evans, ISBN: 978-0-7432-9443-0, Publisher: Atria, Format I read: Trade Paperback, $16.00, Source: Publisher, Rating: 4 Crowns
The bones of the brothers lay in the dark. Dust thick as cloth covered them, for the air was ancient and dead.
It has been a different world then, in the days of the Wanderer. A time when people turned from the old Gods, and slaughter stalked those of the newer ways. Gods are never replaced without blood.
The younger had died for love, seeking justice. The older was cut down as he’d expected to be, surrounded by his fighters. They were both betrayed.
-Taken from page 1of The Island House
Crossing between present day and 800 AD, the story is essentially a book about relationships. The relationship between the present and the past. The relationship between Signy, a Pictish girl, and Bear, a Viking boy. Dan and Freya. Freya and her deceased father. Freya and her father’s girlfriend.
While each relationship was interesting, I felt that I couldn’t quite connect with Signy and Bear. While their story was heart wrenching and well plotted, the connection just wasn’t there. Surprisingly I felt more of a connection to Freya, Dan, and the story of the present.
I would describe this book as a cross between Susanna Kearsley and Bernard Cornwell. And like Cornwell’s novel Stonehenge, the story of the past, while entertaining, fails to connect.
Overall, I was hooked from the opening. The flowing prose pulled and kept me glued to the book until the very last page.
Read for: The amazing way Posie Graeme-Evans weaves the story of the past into the story of the present.
Overlook: The lack of regional dialect and the fact that Fraya and Dan go from chalk and cheese to sugar and spice in under sixty seconds.
*review also posted on Royal Reviews