There are three intertwining stories in Freya’s Child.
We have Einaar, Astrid and Inga, of Viking family trying to survive in a hostile culture. The beliefs, customs, behavior, and values of Vikings was fascinating. This was my favorite part of the book, well presented and interesting. I wish there had been more. I would have liked to get to know this family more intimately especially little Inga who seems more of a shadow child than a reality, even during her own time. I also found the events in these sections to be fast-paced and gripping.
In the present time, we have Katherine, an archaeologist, who has dreamt about Vikings since childhood. These dreams are so vivid she entertains the possibility of reincarnation. Here again, the author gives us delicious tidbits about life in a Viking village.
The third story is about a present-day family, Robert and Helen and their little daughter Cherry, short for Charlotte. I think the book would have engaged me more if we spent less time with this family, especially Helen whose behavior and thoughts became irritating after a while. In the first half of the book some of Helen’s vindictive and unforgiving behavior could be trimmed.
I don’t like to give too much of the plot away in a historical-suspense book. All three groups finally come together in a dramatic climax wherein the life of Cherry, the spirits of an entire Viking village, and the spiritual reunion of Einaar and Astrid with their daughter Inga are at risk.
It seems that this book is about a mother’s love for her child. But, in the end, in both circumstances, it is the father whose actions to protect his child bring him great loss. All four parents show tremendous courage and love for their daughters. It is nice to see girls treated as valuable, especially Inga. Even today, there are those who would judge her physical imperfection harshly.
The other theme that I found refreshing was the possibility that there is more than one type of afterlife. The Buddha said, “We make the world with our minds.” Perhaps we make the afterworld as well.
The author’s writing style is smooth and professional, in spite of the occasional typo. At times the situations or reactions seem clichéd or predictable but there is much that is original and rich as well. Helen seemed overblown at times, but then we have all met overly dramatic people who are probably not much different than this character.
Roscoe has created a compelling contemporary story with a rich historical background. She explores the intimate nature of family relationships with depth and empathy. An enjoyable read.
The author will be interviewed Wednesday, February 15 on this blog.