Friday, June 11, 2021

Book Review | BECOMING LEIDAH by Michelle Grierson

The sky opens up... I hear them laugh.
They don’t feel the sadness in the air.
They don’t feel the danger coming, riding in on the wind.

BECOMING LEIDAH by Michelle Grierson
Publication: April 13, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster CA
Genre: Literary Fiction / Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

In the hinterlands of old Norway, Leidah Pietersdatter is born blue-skinned, with webbed hands and feet. Upon every turn of season, her mother, Maeva, worries as her daughter’s peculiarities blossom—inside the root of the tiny child, a strange power is taking hold.

Maeva tries to hide the girl from the suspicious townsfolk of the austere village of Ørken, just as she conceals her own magical ancestry from her daughter. And Maeva’s adoring husband, Pieter, wants nothing more than for his new family to be accepted by all. But unlike Pieter, who is blinded by love, Maeva is aware that the villagers, who profess a rigid faith to the new God and claim to have abandoned the old ways, are watching for any sign of transgression—and are eager to pounce and punish.

Following both mother and daughter from the shadows and through time, an inquisitive shapeshifter waits for the Fates to spin their web, and for Maeva to finally reclaim who she once was. And as Maeva’s elusive past begins to beckon, she realizes that she must help her daughter navigate and control her own singular birthright if the child is to survive the human world.

But the protective love Pieter has for his family is threatening the secure life they have slowly built and increasingly becoming a tragic obstacle. Witnessing this, Maeva comes to a drastic conclusion: she must make Leidah promise to keep a secret from Pieter—a perilous one that may eventually free them all.

This Canadian debut is set in nineteenth-century Norway, where the marriage of time and magic brought forth uninhibited wonder.

Maeva and Pieter struggle to live in peace and acceptance, but the villagers of Ørken are far from welcoming. If any, they are always suspicious of new and eccentric folks, and Maeva’s elfen looks are a stark reminder of the old ways. Of magic. These made raising Leidah, their blue-skinned daughter, among these people even more difficult.

Norse Mythology has this defined appeal that tickles the curiosity, and Michelle Grierson made this an even more fascinating read with her lyrical narration and distinct sense of wonder. Readers will question the villagers’ spite, Pieter’s blind belief, Maeva’s secret, and Leidah’s naïveté. There's danger, betrayal, anticipation, and redemption. It feels like every page is a discovery. The book is told in three parts, separated by time, which unfolds into a realm of timeless magic.

BECOMING LEIDAH is recommended for those who love a good blend of history and mythology.


About the Author:

Michelle Grierson is a teacher, writer, dancer, painter, habitual traveller, voracious reader, and enthusiastic mom, who has spent a lifetime chasing and channelling ancestral ghosts through her writing, art, and choreography. A firm believer in blood memory, she has been researching her Norwegian and Celtic ancestry for years, and that inspired her debut novel, Becoming Leidah. Most days Michelle can be found exploring the woods near her southwestern Ontario home with her son, Taras, and their dogs, Tulla and Bijou. Photograph by @ Cassie McReavy.

*Thanks to Simon & Schuster CA for the egalley in exchange for this unbiased review.
*This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.


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