Welcome to my first BOOK REVIEW of 2017 “Ingrid. (Daughter of The Alvar) Book 1.
Let’s meet the author, Hannah Warren.
When I’m not writing or thinking about writing, you can find me at the paid job at my local university translating stuff and recruiting international students, experimenting with organic food in my kitchen, stretching my old bones in Yoga or glued to WhatsApp exchanging funny messages with my grown-up kids.
But writing is the real deal for me. I love creating complex characters (mostly women), who are faced with impossible choices in life and still they crack it, whether they perish or not. I write both contemporary and historical fiction and suppose I’m quite old school with my descriptive, character-driven style.
Recently I joined the writer’s collective 13th Sign Publishing. Apart from publishing books, we bring out a quarterly free eZine on topics we love: healthy living, healthy eating and great reading.
On a lonely windswept island off the coast of Sweden, there is a place so desolate it feels abandoned by the fates. And yet, it possesses a strange beauty, which summons souls to awakening. This is the Alvar. Its very nature is a contradiction, and it is this ambiguity that calls to Ingrid, daughter to the vicar of Smedby.
Raised as God-fearing, she believes in charity, and when Kalle returns unexpectedly to the island community, her instinct is to help him. Considered a pariah by all due to his sordid past, one that saw him exiled for many years, he ventures into the Alvar to live, to escape the censure of the villagers. In this desolate place, how will he survive? Ingrid resolves to help him.
No one will tell Ingrid why Kalle was exiled. Her father commands her to stay away from the poacher. Their housekeeper warns her off. Her brother does not know what happened. Her French tutor, Max, is new to the island. The mystery is overwhelming and the only one who knows the truth is Kalle himself. In the spirit of charity, and also curiosity, Ingrid befriends Kalle, hoping to uncover the past, hoping also to help him survive the Alvar.
A gypsy reveals to Ingrid that she will lose everything, but the cossetted vicar’s daughter is headstrong. She enters the Alvar despite every warning … and meets her fate there.
I made a decision in the past year to explore genres hitherto outside my usual comfort zone. Historical Fiction is a relatively new genre for me, and I approached it with an open mind, guided also by the fact that I have read and enjoyed other works by Author Hannah Warren.
Let me first explore the primary character of Ingrid.
Ingrid at the age of sixteen is the over protected and exceedingly naive daughter of the Vicar of Smedby. Her decision making process is governed by the strictest of upbringings and the socially acceptable behavior patterns of a community isolated from the influences of the outside world by location, and crafted by the prejudices that exist within such a closely bound village.
Ingrid’s position as the vicars’ daughter is viewed with eyes that hold her both above, and accordingly protected from, anything even remotely connected with scandal; and herein lay the foundations of future behavior as this young girl experiences her first tantalizing and unexplored tastes of burgeoning womanhood.
Rebellion in teenagers can take many forms, and Ingrid finds herself both intrigued by, and more than a little curious about the arrival of a man whose actions when he was a part of this community earned him both the disrespect and hushed whispers that accompany anything considered outside of acceptable parameters.
Ingrid’s first acts of disobedience, are, in part, retaliation against the confines of her upbringing, and her newly dawning awareness of womanhood, and her need to exert her own will, whatever the cost. The arrival back in the village of the forbidden Kalle is simply too intriguing to resist.
Kalle’s character is less finely drawn, for to do so would reveal more than the reader needs to know if tension is to be maintained. Suffice it to say that he, along with other lesser characters is crafted beautifully.
The location itself is what helps drive this work to its unexpected conclusion. Author Hannah Warren invites you to experience the stark windswept place known as The Alvar. A place that invites secrets, and houses its own deep sense of mystery and darkness.
I detest spoilers in reviews, and to share more here would detract from what I found to be a enormously enjoyable and unpredictable reading experience.
I highly recommend this work, and look forward to reading more of this series.
Find Hannah here on Twitter; @