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 Eirksdottir, 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.
Length: 358 pages
Publisher: One More Chapter
Content warnings: domestic abuse, rape, homophobia
I received a free copy from Netgalley and the publisher of this book in return for an honest review. This does not impact on my opinions.
Going into The Voyage of Freydis, I knew nothing about the legend the story is based on. I also knew little about the Vikings, or Nordic history. So for me, this definitely felt more fiction than historical.
Freydis is a Greenlander, part of a hard people who survive off the land in a harsh climate. Their voyages of exploration are described as going “vyking” – something several characters do during the story. Being British, I learned about the Vikings as raiders and not necessarily nice people. This story helped to give a human element to the history I learned as a child.
I really liked Freydis’ character. She’s living in a domestic abuse situation, and it felt so realistic that I felt sure the author must have experienced something like it. While she hasn’t (as far as the internet is concerned), she is a working therapist dealing with PTSD, which explains how accurate her depiction of the situation felt. Everything Freydis feels and goes through is described really well, and I never thought that she did anything out of character or contrary to her situation.
The story itself is slow and meandering. More times passes in the narrative than you realise at times. Yet I never felt bored. There is something about the prose that feels comforting, and the descriptions of the landscapes and the atmosphere Goranson creates held my attention.
There is gay male relationship in the book, but it is not portrayed in a positive light. In keeping with the context of the times, it is not approved of and is seen as disgusting by certain characters, including Freydis. This didn’t bother me as I understand the historical context, but I know it would some. It is not the centre of the story, and, as we are seeing through Freydis’ perspective, we only see what affects her, and this relationship did, but not in a major way.
I rooted for Freydis throughout the entire story.She is a woman in a man’s world trying to claim her own power. This is another book about the power of women, and the fear men have of that power.
Though I didn’t like the ending, I did enjoy my time reading The Voyage of Freydis. So I will be looking out for more by the author.