Earlier this year I got to read Sky in the Deep which I reviewed here. As you can see I was a fan so I jumped at the chance to read the companion novel The Girl the Sea Gave Back.
I also got to meet Adrienne at YALC this year. She was lovely and I got both my books signed.
The Girl the Sea Gave Back is set in the same world ten years later With familiar characters grown and new characters joining them to threaten the peace if you enjoyed Sky in the Deep dive in without hesitation.
For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, The people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the run stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.
For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again – a home.
Huge shout out to the cover designer for another stunning book.
ADRIENNE YOUNG is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee.
What I Thought
It’s always interesting to see what happens after a happily ever after. War is over – or is it? The world was one of the things I loved most about the first book with it being something fresh. The almost simplicity of its brutality with fighting being about survival gives rise to an ability to truly focus on the characters and their relationships. The quiet moments in contrast to war is a theme that is further explored here.
Companion novels are funny beasts especially when you’ve grown so invested in the main characters of the first book to have them not be the main focus. Like meeting new friends in real life, you don’t forget what or who has come before but assimilate them into your world. Fiske and Eelyn from Sky in the Deep do appear and Halvard we met as a young boy. Tova and her community are new to us and the additional aspect of her being an outcast within her own tribe meant there was a twist on this not being a straight replay of the first book.
Universality in young adult stories in providing commentary relevant to our current world is what brings me back to books aimed at teens. Age is but a number and any fantasy fans should enjoy this. As long as you like a side of romance.
I also love it when you know how the book gets its title and in the Prologue we get the answer straight away. The question we are left with is why?
I’m not sure if there will be more stories told in this world but I am enough of a fan of Adrienne’s writing to follow her back or forth to new worlds.
Do check out the rest of the tour stops.
Thank you to Titan for my gifted copy of the book for the purposes of an honest review.
England 1648. A dangerous time for a woman to be different . . .
Midsummer’s Eve, 1648, and England is in the grip of civil war between renegade King and rebellious Parliament. The struggle reaches every corner of the kingdom, even to the remote Tidelands – the marshy landscape of the south coast.
Alinor, a descendant of wise women, crushed by poverty and superstition, waits in the graveyard under the full moon for a ghost who will declare her free from her abusive husband. Instead she meets James, a young man on the run, and shows him the secret ways across the treacherous marsh, not knowing that she is leading disaster into the heart of her life.
Suspected of possessing dark secrets in superstitious times, Alinor’s ambition and determination mark her out from her neighbours. This is the time of witch-mania, and Alinor, a woman without a husband, skilled with herbs, suddenly enriched, arouses envy in her rivals and fear among the villagers, who are ready to take lethal action into their own hands.
Philippa Gregory is the author of many bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognised authority on women’s history.
Her Cousins’ War novels, reaching their dramatic conclusion with The King’s Curse, were the basis for the highly successful BBC series, The White Queen.
Philippa graduated from the University of Sussex and holds a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 at Edinburgh University. In 2016, she received the Harrogate Festival Award for Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction. Philippa lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire and welcomes visitors to her website, PhilippaGregory.com.
What I Thought
I don’t read a lot of historical fiction but even I am familiar with Philippa Gregory, despite never having read her work before. The Tidelands is a new series, set during a period where life could be dangerous for women who were walking a fine line between healing and what could be seen as witchcraft. Having recently read and enjoyed The Familiars by Stacey Halls I thought this would be a great introduction.
With echoes of Great Expectations the Tidelands of the title are very much a character in their own right. Foreboding and isolating, the arrival of a newcomer brings with it the intrusion of the outside world where King Charles is at war with Parliament.
A slow burning romance allows us time to get to know our main characters. Alinor, her daughter Alys and son Rob and James, the outsider, who rocks his world and theirs.
Phillippa is a master at the everyday, at representing what it might have been like to live during that time. My nearest comparison, not having read much of this genre is Catherine Cookson’s The Dwelling Place. Another book I enjoyed. Tidelands is a book with a character driven plot and historically accurate peril; the threat of being labelled a witch lingers throughout the book. I enjoyed the slower pace and the focus on women’s stories. I’ll definitely be continuing with the series and checking out some of her earlier work.
What’s your favourite Philippa Gregory novel?
Thanks to @darkroomtours and @simonschusteruk for the #gifted copy for the purposes of this honest review. #Tidelands #DarkroomTours #PhilippaGregory #historicalfiction #witchcraft #bookstagram
My review in the style of an Instagram post (like in the book)
Photo: A copy of the book on a black background with snow white sheets and silver snowflakes.
Option one: Beware the Snowflakes – they have power in numbers!
Option two: Two teen girls who have moved from the U.K. to Iceland find themselves digging for the truth behind life’s, and their own, filters.
Option three: Author Sif Sigmarsdóttir melts onto the Nordic crime scene with a standout YA thriller that says as much about modern day society as it does about murder.
Option four: I was lucky enough to meet Sif at #YALC this weekend. Her smiley and lovely persona clearly masks a twisted murder mystery writing heart.
Option five: Hoping for a sequel that explores Hannah’s “curse” more.
Option six: Love the use of #instagram within the story.
Actual caption: “you can’t judge a person by the width of their smile.” Social media, recent political sabotage, and nordic thriller combine in a murder mystery full of twists. Kept me reading, guessing and wanting more.
@darkroomtours @teambkmrk @sif.sigmarsdottir #SharpEdgeOfASnowflake #DarkroomTours #SifSigmarsdóttir #bookstagram #bookreview
The snow is falling thick and fast now. Snow in Iceland is dangerous.
Hannah Eiríksdóttir has been banished from her home in London to a place of eternal punishment for the wicked. No, not Hell, but close: Iceland. There, she faces a new life working as a journalist for her father’s newspaper – a man she barely knows.
Imogen Collins has the perfect life as a social media influencer, showing off her glamorous London existence to adoring fans. But behind the filters lies a dark secret. She thought she’d buried it: But the Beast is back – a ghost from her past who’s threatening to ruin her future.
When a man is found murdered at the edge of the road in snowy Iceland the girls’ lives collide. Imogen had the motive. Can Hannah find out the truth, and discover the reality of the girl beneath the filters?
Behind perfection often lies unbearable ugliness.
For fans of One of Us is Lying and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Sif Sigmarsdóttir is a writer and a journalist living in London. She’s a coffee drinking news addict who loves nothing more than books and chocolate.
She’s originally from Iceland. Her name comes from Norse mythology – Sif is the goddess wife of Thor, the strong and handsome thunder god. She tried to find a Thor for a husband but no one was available.
Sif lives in a flat with her two children, Inspiration-Drain-One and Inspiration-Drain-Two, and her non-Thor husband who goes by the name He-Who-Takes-Out-The-Trash. Their pet is a family of moths.
She’s been writing books for ten years. She’s also been pestering politicians for ten years. Her weekly column in Iceland’s biggest newspaper is the country’s most read. She was once blacklisted by a prime minister. She celebrated with some chocolate.
Her new book is called The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake and it’s a feminist Nordic noir YA thriller which can be described as “Nancy Drew meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl, described it as “a breathtaking, thought provoking and wildly entertaining YA thriller”.
Thanks to teambkmk and darkroomtours for the copy of the book for the purposes of this honest review. Please note: Trigger Warning for Sexual Assault
Do check out the rest of the tour stops for guest posts, extracts and other reviews