In the opening epic novel of The Island of Sylt trilogy by bestselling author Ines Thorn, a young woman must choose between love and poverty, or thrilling adventure and tormented passion.
The Island of Sylt, 1764
Life in the windswept village of Rantum in the North Sea is fraught with peril and hardship. Most families must rely on arranged marriage just to survive. But free-spirited Maren Luersen doesn’t care for riches—her heart belongs to handsome but poor Thies Heinen. He may not have prospects or fortune to offer, but Maren knows their intense love can overcome any obstacle, and she is determined to be his bride.
The wealthy and mysterious Captain Rune Boyse has other plans. He shocks Maren with a startling marriage proposal, and even though he can give her family a better life, her love for Thies is too powerful to deny. But when tragedy strikes, she finds herself in debt to the captain and must set sail with him on a dangerous whale hunt—with no promise of a safe return.
If Maren survives, will life be the same back on shore? Or will her heart change course somewhere over the icy swells of the Arctic Sea?
Translated from German, this historical fiction novel is set on the island of Sylt, a Frisian archipelago in the North Sea, in 1764. I have always been fascinated by Nordic tales and appreciate to read settings that are beyond the known major historical events.
The villagers of Rantum are set deeply in their traditional ways. Neighbors know each other well and community is a way of life needed to survive the conditions by the cold sea. Maren, coming of marriageable age is in love with Thies, a poor but handsome young man. They promise to marry one another at a point when they have saved enough money to have a big wedding. Unfortunately, disaster strikes the island, Maren's father dies, and she is left with her mother alone to support themselves without an income. Most islanders are fishermen and whale hunters and Thies too will earn the most by going away for a few months. Patiently Maren waits on her fiance, but has to borrow money from Captain Rune Boyse in order to survive.
Living meager and working tirelessly, Maren can't seem to make enough money after months and months, to pay the Captain back. So he offers her to be part of the whaling crew on his next whale hunt and she reluctantly agrees.
This was a sweet read. I always enjoy reading between the lines or paying attention to details of the setting and learning new things of foreign places. These were beautifully described in this novel. I found the writing style a bit reserved but a steady pace. In many cases I figured out what would happen next, but there is a twist in the end. I would categorize this as a romantic christian historical fiction novel.
Thanks to Goodreads, I had the pleasure of reading this novel on my kindle after entering and winning a give-a-way copy. Thank you!