Adult

Becoming Leidah

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Book Information

Title: Becoming Leidah
Author: Michelle Grierson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster CA
Genre: Fantasy | Magical Realism | Historical
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
ISBN:
9781982141202
Pages:
336

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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.

Leidah

Becoming Leidah Synopsis

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.


Becoming Leidah Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Becoming Leidah is a historical fiction that weaves magic and folklore into the real world. Leidah’s story is not given a specific time period that it takes place. That being said the events of this book take place in Norway; when Christianity was new and old Norse ways were dying out. The book is told from multiple POVs (Leidah, Maeva, Pieter, etc), and is told through different time periods and perspectives. The author has cleverly separated these into overarching chapters that relate to Norse mythology and customs; these are What Was, What Is, The Knots, and The Threads. Each tells its own story involving the characters, and as they weave together, you are able to piece together how everything is connected.

Leidah is a curious 7 year old who has awakened long hidden magic. She loves her parents, is wiser than her years and wants to fit in with the regular people despite her differences. She doesn’t understand why people treat her and her mother differently, but despite this she remains happy and trie to figure things out on her own. Her inner monologue is one of wanting understanding and clarity on how the world works, must like every other child who faces diversity. Maeva, Leidah’s mother, has hidden her past from everyone. She has gone through a lot and is ostracized from the village. She is not form there and therefore will never be fully accepted by anyone. She faces challenges regarding hiding her magical ancestry, religion, cultural, and raising a family with her fisherman husband, Pieter. The other characters that we get some POV from are all very original and well thought out. The way these characters lives revolve around each other whether loosely or intricately allowed the disjointed timelines to weave together by the end of the story.

The more books that I read that involve Norse mythology, the more I wish I knew more about it. World-building. The world-building in this story is amazing. You feel like you are there with the characters. The storylines and time jumps weave together well. Michelle Grierson clearly spent a lot of time researching and developing this story. The writing style is good. It wraps you up in the story and pulls you in. I just wish that it wasn’t so jumpy from character perspectives to time period. I felt like I finally got connected to the story in one place, then the next chapter was a different character at a different time and place. The story also has a lot of mystery and open-endedness to it. Some of the mysteries created in Becoming Leidah are left for you to use your imagination and I can’t help but wonder and hypothesize what happened after the ending.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster CA for sending me an advanced copy for my review.


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About Michelle Grierson

Born and raised in southwestern Ontario, Canada, Michelle Greirson spent most of her adult life as a secondary school Arts educator (26 years and counting), with a particular focus in Dance, Drama, Visual Arts, as well as Expressive Arts in Special Education classrooms.

She have a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and English Literature, a Bachelor of Education, certification in Expressive Arts Therapy (3 year program), along with studies at the European Graduate School, Switzerland. She am also a graduate of the Humber School for Writers (fiction writing).   Her experience and interests include modern dance, dance theatre, fiction writing, expressive arts therapy, painting and mixed media art making.


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