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Title: The Witch’s Heart
Author: Genevieve Gornichec
Publisher: Ace Books
Genre: Fantasy | Mythology | Romance
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
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My heart is so much more than it once was, even if it now beats outside my chest.Angrboda
The Witch’s Heart Synopsis
When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.
Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.
Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.
With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.
The Witch’s Heart Review
Oh I love a mythology retelling, especially one as well written as this one. The Witch’s Heart is a reimagining of the story of Angrboda, who is in the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda. Angrboda is known in Norse mythology as the mother of monsters. Genevieve Gornichec gives Angrboda an identity and story beyond her children’s legends. She does this by pulling from other Norse mythologies involving women including Gullveig, the jotunn Hyndla, Hyrrokkin and the giantess in the Ironwood. The combination of these mythologies feels realistic and it is easy to imagine that all these legends did come from the same woman.
While this book covers a large span of time and has a lot of time jumps, it feels organic and you really understand Angrboda and her relationship with Loki. As Gullveig, Angrboda was burned three times at the stake by the Aesir and Odin. Each time she was revived and on the third time, the Aesir took her heart on a stake. She escapes to the edge of Jotunheim to the Ironwood, where she remade herself. She focused on healing and blocking her powers so that Odin cannot find her again. She hides in a cave in the Ironwood and meets Loki, Skadi & Gerd, who all help her survive and thrive in thier own way in her new world. As the story progresses, Loki and Angrboda’s relationship is explored and so is the Ragnarok legend regarding Hel, Fenrir, & Jormungand.
This retelling has all the feels in it. I had moments of joy, hope, sadness and sorrow . Genevieve Gornichec does a wonderful job portraying a mother’s love as Angrboda does not even think of her children’s nature or fate, but only of her unconditional love for them. This book is definitely a must read for fantasy romance readers and for fans who love mythology retellings.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Ace Books for sending me a free copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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About Genevieve Gornichec
Genevieve Gornichec is a writer from Northeast Ohio. She earned her degree in history, but she got as close to majoring in Vikings as she possibly could. Her writing is inspired by the Norse myths and Icelandic sagas.
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