Author: Tamara Goranson
History set her fate in stone…
Murderer. Mercenary. Temptress.
Trickster. Traitor. Thief.
But under a hammer that falls like thunder, stone will always shatter.
So with her voice she lights the forge.
The Voyage of Freydis sings the silenced tale of Freydis Eiriksdottir, the first and only woman to lead a Viking voyage across the Atlantic in this tempestuous retelling of the Vinland Sagas set at the dawn of the 11th century.
The Voyage of Freydis is a tale of an accomplished woman who does get the same acknowledgements as her male relations set in the Viking Era (10th century). Freydis Eiriksdottir is the daughter of Erik the Red and sister of Leif Eiriksson, the famed Norse explorer. While not much evidence is found to support her existence and accomplishments, this novel sets out to give this character her own story. The story begins in a darker place and although it does have some light-heartedness, the novel is fairly skewed to the more serious side.
The story begins with Freydis and her marriage to Thorvald in Greenland. Thorvald is a very abusive spouse, in every sense of the word. Initially, the novel goes through their marriage and the reader experiences just how bad Thorvald is to Freydis as she tries to search for a way out. Eventually, Freydis finds passage on a ship heading for Vinland (west in North America). Once she arrives with the other settlers, she faces all new obstacles and her past that she escaped is always lurking to potentially catch up with her. In her new life, she is stubborn and wants to be a hunter, so she finds her way to be a part of the hunting parties. As she explores the new land, she learns new skills along the way while adjusting to life away from Thorvald.
Freydis’s character was difficult to connect with for almost the entire novel, as her personality was a little all over the place. She was meeker one minute and raging the next. Given her circumstances and past, I could try to understand what she was going through and how they related to her actions, however, I just could not fully wrap my head around her character to make her likable to me. Based on the time period and events in the story, I was not expecting her to be fully likeable, but I had hoped that there would be one quality that I could connect with. I sympathized with her situation with Thorvald, but beyond that, I could not sense something to relate to at her core.
Although the pacing was a little slow at times, it fit the narrative of the story and built up the tension that surrounded Freydis. The cultural aspects in this book was interesting, as I loved reading about the different places and traditions. There are the native people of Vinland, the settlers, and Greenland all present. The Viking history and the source material for this novel, the Vinland sagas, are fascinating and the basic concept of Freydis finding her own way was interesting. The characters in this novel, especially Freydis, had potential, but, unfortunately, I did not connect for them. However, I did wish for Freydis to find some kind of resolution after Thorvald. Overall, this was an extremely fascinating concept that just was not for me.
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, HarperCollins UK – One More Chapter, for the opportunity to read this interesting novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**