Throughout this book, I got the sense that the author Judith Lindberg put a great amount of research into the time and place.
I really wanted to like this novel. However, there was no real joy or poignant turning points in character or plot. There was no one character I found myself cheering for. Katla is damaged but then goes on to hate and damage psychologically her own daughter. Thorbjorg notes the growing malevolency in Bibrau and tries to wrench it out of her with utter strictness, which included locking her in a cold dank shed naked for 3 days. Eventually, after knowing little kindness over a lifetime, Bibrau puts her hand to a series of evil deeds. While I found this novel interesting, it did not strike a cord as other anti-heroic novels had (Wuthering Heights, Brave New World).
The narrator Virginia Leishman really put herself into this book in emotional expression. She also pronounced character and place names with accuracy. The story is told in first person, switching between the three women. I sometimes had trouble distinguishing by voice alone which character was talking.