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The Sealwoman's Gift

by Sally Magnussen

I love stories about strong women, and Ásta certainly is one. She survives a raid on the Icelandic shores by corsairs, giving birth on a slaveship to Algiers and the loss of her children. But she also gets insight in herself, in a different culture and finds love in an unexpected place. Based on a true history of the Turkish Raid of 1627 and written with love for detail and ambiance. It’s a warm embrace of a book, like a story by Scheherazade.

Extract

Ásta, in her exasperating way, has always embraced idleness like a puffin-down pillow. She could dream any number of hours away, that one. The Lord only knows how she is going to cope when they reach wherever they are going. She's never been in the slightest degree resourceful - head always stuffed with more stories than sense. Ólafur was a brave man to take her on. 'She's captivating, Ólafur,' Margrét remembers sighing, 'but she'll argue you to death and makes the worst butter in Heimaey [which – she might have added – is the least of it: you should taste her liver pudding] and you had better hide your books at once. Jón adored her, of course. Ásta could wind her uncle around her finger easier than she ever managed with a skein of wool.

Parallels

The Barefoot Queen by Ildefonso Falcones
Seal Skin by Su Bristow
 

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