Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: The Island House by Posie Graeme-Evans

Title: The Island House
Author: Posie Graeme-Evans
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Atria
Publish Date: June 26, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "In 2011 Freya Dane, a Ph.D. candidate in archaeology, arrives on the ancient Scottish island of Findnar. After years of estrangement from her father, himself an archaeologist who recently died, Freya has come to find out what she can about his work. As she reads through his research notes, she sees he learned a great deal about the Viking and Christian history of the island. But what he found only scratches the surface of the discoveries Freya is about to make.

In 800 A.D. a Pictish girl named Signy loses her entire family during a Viking raid. She is taken in by the surviving members of the Christian community on Findnar, but when she falls deeply in love with a Viking boy, she is cast out. She eventually becomes a nun and finds herself at the center of the clash between the island’s three religious cultures. The tragedy of her story is that, in the end, she must choose among her adopted faith, her native religion, and the man she loves.

Centuries apart, Freya and Signy are each on the verge of life-changing events that will bring present-day and Viking-era Scotland together. The Island House plunges the reader into a past that never dies and a love that reaches out across a thousand years."

My Two Cents:

This is another book with one story set in the present and one set in the past. There's Freya, a woman, who is looking for clues after her absentee father's death. Then there's Signy who lives in 800 AD who is trying to decide between religion and love. This book has a little touch of the paranormal too; which adds a little more interest.

Unlike many of these books that have both a past and present story, I actually liked the present-day story better. I don't know a lot about the Viking times that Signy was living through and I wished that there was a little more historical context to explain what was going on. I felt like I would have gotten more out of it. Freya was a really interesting character to me. She comes to this island where she doesn't know anyone and begins to try to put together the pieces of what her father must have been like but she finds another mystery, which I really liked. This is the part where the little bit of paranormal comes in. I thought that was really a nice feature in this book. I know that it definitely kept me reading.

There was a little bit of romance in both the present and the past stories. Here's where the past story was better than the present. Signy and Bear fall in love but the forces of there cultures keep them from forging a relationship for the long haul. You see why they fall in love and you really feel for their relationship. On the other hand, you have Freya and local man, Dan, who seem to mix like oil and water. And then all the sudden as if a flip had been switched, they fall for each other. This part definitely was confusing. To me, there didn't seem to really be any sort of transition between them not liking each other at all and then falling in love.

Bottom line: Overall, the story is interesting. I liked the paranormal bit. I think historical fiction lovers who like a little bit of flair with their HF will enjoy this story.



  1. I love that cover, but sorry the book was just so-so.

  2. sounds interesting! I like the setting and the plot.

  3. Meg, I felt the exact same way about this book. The love story between Signy and Bear was wonderful but the one with Freya and Dan made no sense at all. Dan's whole personality seemed to change overnight and they were in love and I just did not get it.

  4. Thanks for the honest review....I've had my eye on this one and was waiting for reviews to come in. Sounds like it didn't have much wow factor, so I'll probably pass.

  5. That is unusual to like the present story better. I'm not sure what I'd think of a book set in Viking times. It sounds interesting but quite foreign.

    1. I'd love to read more about the Vikings. I just don't know that much about them!

  6. I love how you described the present tale, but the lack of world-building in the past leaves me leery. Awesome review!


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