i received a copy of the witches of vardo from allen & unwin nz in exchange for an honest review.
the witches of vardø review
the witches of vardo is a feminist retelling of the vardo witch trials (in norway, 1662-1663). while i had no knowledge of this particular set of witch trials, i found the book very informative and interesting. (to the point of delving into my own research when i finished reading. the author went as far as including some resources for further reading at the end of the book).
while the witches of vardo is rich in history, i didn’t find it difficult to learn about as the author has a great way of weaving fact and fiction. some things were changed for dramatisation and others to help the readers understand what’s going on (such as character names – they seemed to have a lot of name repetition back in the old days😂)
the first thing i noticed while reading this book was how much research went into it. the author very clearly has an interest in the topic and has studied both the history and the culture immensely. the author shows a lot of respect towards the people and their history while writing.
because of this, the world building was absolutely incredible. anya bergman paints a vivid picture of the land and the horrors that these women go through at the hands of witch hunters. the characters were believable (although a little unlikeable) and their suffering was heartfelt.
aside from the unlikeable characters, my only issue with the witches of vardo was the slow pacing. it made reading rather tedious. even towards the end, it didn’t pick up that much.
as a whole, the witches of vardo was an enlightening read about the fictionalised events that occurred/led up to the vardo witch trials. if you’re looking for a book that’s rich in history, then this one would be great for you.