Book Name: Becoming Leidah
Author: Michelle Grierson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page Count: 323
Book Link: Amazon
Blurb on Goodreads:
The sky opens up… I hear them laugh.
They don’t feel the sadness in the air.
They don’t feel the danger coming, riding in on the wind.
In the hinterlands of old Norway, Leidah Pietersdatter is born blue-skinned, with webbed hands and feet. Upon every turn of season, her mother, Maeva, worries as her daughter’s peculiarities blossom—inside the root of the tiny child, a strange power is taking hold.
Maeva tries to hide the girl from the suspicious townsfolk of the austere village of Ørken, just as she conceals her own magical ancestry from her daughter. And Maeva’s adoring husband, Pieter, wants nothing more than for his new family to be accepted by all. But unlike Pieter, who is blinded by love, Maeva is aware that the villagers, who profess a rigid faith to the new God and claim to have abandoned the old ways, are watching for any sign of transgression—and are eager to pounce and punish.
Following both mother and daughter from the shadows and through time, an inquisitive shapeshifter waits for the Fates to spin their web, and for Maeva to finally reclaim who she once was. And as Maeva’s elusive past begins to beckon, she realizes that she must help her daughter navigate and control her own singular birthright if the child is to survive the human world.
But the protective love Pieter has for his family is threatening the secure life they have slowly built and increasingly becoming a tragic obstacle. Witnessing this, Maeva comes to a drastic conclusion: she must make Leidah promise to keep a secret from Pieter—a perilous one that may eventually free them all.
First thing first, the cover flattered me a lot and it was one of my reasons for picking up this book and read it. Also, after reading the synopsis I was very intrigued and it immediately caught my attention then I decided that I have to read this one and see for myself what the book is all about. And I tell you this book is unlike any other. It was full of magic, my favorite aspect of any book. A debut novel by Michelle Grierson is unique in itself, with amazing characters and one-of-its-kind.
Becoming Leidah is a mythology-based fantasy with the characters and the plot set in Norway. Becoming Leidah follows the story of a young woman Maeva in Orken, Norway. It starts with when Maeva is rescued from the sea and is brought to a small village in Norway by two fishermen friends Pieter and Hans in the 19th century. Maeva is not what she seems to like and the locals aren’t particularly in awe of her, since she’s is different from the rest of them. When she marries the fisherman who rescued her, Pieter, she gives birth to a daughter with the help of the midwife Helger and named her Leidah. But sooner Maeva realizes that her daughter may not be entirely human after all and is risking the entirety to bring out the truth even in front of her husband.
Becoming Leidah is conceptually intelligent and a creative tale with poetic narration and the mention of the Norse mythology god Odin. I think the writing was absolutely beautiful with the various references of the Norse God and the Norse mythology. I am very much fascinated by the writing style of Michelle which is very poetic and lyrical and also wholesome at the same time. The dual narratives, i.e., present and past narratives give us a clear glimpse of Maeva’s history and when Leidah is eight-year-old and her present life.
The book was fast-paced and kept me on the edge from the very first page. The notion hooked me. Feels like the book is purely imaginative and I felt the characters playing their part right in front of me. The plot is like the plethora of layers of prose comprised together to tick off the base magic in an extraordinary way. Chapters are pretty short, which is always a plus point for me in any book. Language is sheen and exceptional.
The story is powerful and I like the fact how it was presented. Also, a little advice that beforehand knowledge of the God Odin would be nice and helpful in the context of the book, from my experience. I recommend someone to be in the mood for something poetic and mystical than figurative. This book is artistic and might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Though, I enjoyed it thoroughly.