Review of The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
I loved the vivid setting and the strong women who find themselves in the middle of this early seventeenth century witch hunt.
I loved The Mercies. The majority of page time is spent showing the tasks of daily life (and almost-claustrophobic interconnectedness) within a tiny, very northern Norwegian community in the early 17th century.
But there are witch hunts at hand, and dabbling in the Sami traditions of runes, poppets, or the playing of drums—or simply being a strong-willed woman helping to feed a village by manning fishing boats when the men are all lost—is enough to lead to terrible consequences.
Hargrave allows some light into the darkness and cold in the form of love, and important realizations, and some brutal justice, but ignorance and pettiness lead to other horrific and undeserved consequences.
One standout for me was the strong women in the face of men's abuses of power and physical cruelty. The setting was vivid and I often think back to Hargrave's richly described landscape.
What did you think?
This is Hargrave's first book for adults, but she has several other young adult and children's books I'd love to read.
This book is part of the Greedy Reading List Six Captivating Nordic Stories.