The Unbroken Line of the Moon by Joanna Hildebrandt
Started 1 September
Finished 11 September
Another translation, and a good one. I enjoyed this and am likely to keep an eye out for subsequent stories in the series. It is quite clear that there will be more, as the novel ends in such a way as to leave the reader in no doubt. That's not to say it was an unsatisfactory ending; far from it, but there is more to come.
The story centres around Sigrid, a woman living in Scandinavia in the Viking era. She is actually a legendary queen of Sweden (Svea) - Sigrid the Haughty. She is mentioned in some sagas, but there seems to be debate about whether she was a real figure, or possibly an amalgamation of several women from that era. Sigrid is married off to King Erik of Sweden, to secure the future of her tribe; however, she falls for another man prior to her wedding, presenting doubt as to the paternity of her offspring. Sigrid is in constant danger and the story follows her determination to survive.
The novel pulls no punches and certainly doesn't present a romanticised view of 10th-century Sweden. There is plenty of graphic description of battles, of rape and brutality. That said, the story is told in a very matter-of-fact way, so these events aren't in any way glorified, nor do they seem gratuitous. Rather, they come across as a simple recounting of life as it was. The story started a little slowly, but it was worth staying with. There are some mystical elements, centred around the practises of the old religion and the struggle between belief in the old Nordic gods and Christianity plays a significant part in the tale.
Tier One by Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson
Started 12 September
Finished 19 September
Back to thrillers, although this is a military-based one, rather than a police procedural. It tells the story of an elite ops team and their leader. I believe it may be the first of many, and I might consider reading more of them. The story was well paced and kept me reading. I'll admit these aren't generally my preferred genre, but this was interesting, as the story didn't go where I expected. I read the Kindle version, so didn't realise that there was a glossary at the end, which would have helped my understanding a little, as the novel was rather acronym-heavy at times.
The Cross-Country Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini
Started 20 September
Finished 23 September
Chronologically this is the third of the Elm Creek Quilt novels written, although not the third I have read. The novels are about quilters, and most are set around a quilting camp in America. Yes, the stories are quaint, and possibly slightly unrealistic, with their tales of women who find companionship through quilting. No gritty dramas here, just gentle depiction of life. To me, they represent an element of escapism, as well as something familiar to me. I don't go on quilting camps - from what I know, I suspect quilting is more popular in the US than here, although I have done some. I do recognise that friendship which grows when a group of people gather with a shared interest. Some of my closest friends where I live are ones I have met through joining a craft group.
This tale highlights a group who meet at the quilting camp, make friends, and decide to create a collaborative quilt. They each have issues to deal with in their lives and agree to start their quilt blocks only once they have taken steps to deal with their problems. The individual stories are woven together well and the ladies meet up the following year to finish the quilt. As with most of these books, it's a gentle, undemanding read, but well written.