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A love story set in nineteenth-century Norway, about a woman rescued from the sea, the fisherman who marries her, their tiny and unusually gifted daughter, and the shapeshifter who follows their every move, perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman, Yangsze Choo, Eowyn Ivey, and Neil Gaiman. The sky opens up... I hear them laugh. They don’t feel the sadness in the air. They don’t fee A love story set in nineteenth-century Norway, about a woman rescued from the sea, the fisherman who marries her, their tiny and unusually gifted daughter, and the shapeshifter who follows their every move, perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman, Yangsze Choo, Eowyn Ivey, and Neil Gaiman. 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. 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.


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A love story set in nineteenth-century Norway, about a woman rescued from the sea, the fisherman who marries her, their tiny and unusually gifted daughter, and the shapeshifter who follows their every move, perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman, Yangsze Choo, Eowyn Ivey, and Neil Gaiman. The sky opens up... I hear them laugh. They don’t feel the sadness in the air. They don’t fee A love story set in nineteenth-century Norway, about a woman rescued from the sea, the fisherman who marries her, their tiny and unusually gifted daughter, and the shapeshifter who follows their every move, perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman, Yangsze Choo, Eowyn Ivey, and Neil Gaiman. 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. 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.

30 review for Becoming Leidah

  1. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Is it just me or is this cover divine???? I got a good feeling about this one.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jonathon Neville

    [See also: reviews by Shima, Sarah-Hope, ...] [+Got questions? See Goodreads group started by Joanna: Becoming Leidah Discussion.] -------------------------------------- While reading Becoming Leidah, I wondered: What am I ‘becoming’ as I read? How many dimensions of literary delight exist? I think I experienced all here: surprise after surprise – micro to macro – subtle yet electrifying. Riding the author’s imagination at times felt like I was flying the most ecstatic parts of Vivaldi’s Four Season [See also: reviews by Shima, Sarah-Hope, ...] [+Got questions? See Goodreads group started by Joanna: Becoming Leidah Discussion.] -------------------------------------- While reading Becoming Leidah, I wondered: What am I ‘becoming’ as I read? How many dimensions of literary delight exist? I think I experienced all here: surprise after surprise – micro to macro – subtle yet electrifying. Riding the author’s imagination at times felt like I was flying the most ecstatic parts of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. When we enter the mind of the child – an extraordinary child – it’s like I’m experiencing childhood again – at a far more fabulous level than I ever knew. Not just a fantasy, it’s very grounded in reality. Magical realism with an emphasis on both magical and real. At it’s core it’s a family drama. A love triangle – trapezoid? – with a kid at the centre. It brought me somewhere more nuanced, more mature – an integration that made magic more real. It invited self-reflection, and brought my life into greater perspective. I saw Becoming Leidah on a list of historical fiction. Fair enough. It certainly presents a deeply-researched time and place, and adds layers beyond factual or even speculative histories, so although it is not about famous people or events, it is historical and it is fiction. I’d also call it a mythical folktale, and, as mentioned, a family drama. Perhaps like all family dramas, beneath the surface, it’s a mystery. The mystery is not only to discover what happened / what’s really happening in this story – it’s a mystery into humanity’s greatest mysteries. The book jumps between time periods and narrators, and although I have read books where that bothered me, here I loved weaving the story together. Still, I can imagine some readers finding it a challenge. Unreliable narrators and intentionally undeclared travel between worlds can make it seem like the story is inconsistent, when it’s actually just more layered than you might assume. Reading the jacket description, I wondered if it would present a stereotype of religion or men. Turned out I was the one doing the stereotyping. (I came to identify with both husband and wife.) The ending is highly poetic, and ambiguous – which might not work for people who want a clear ending / definitive closure. It’s not a cliffhanger – it is complete in itself – and yet, I would love to read a follow-up book – I want to explore where these characters go after growing to this point. Perhaps that exploration is up to me. I used to wonder to what extent / in what ways it would be true to say “With imagination, anyone can be rich.” Well, I’ve never been richer.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    Michelle Grierson's Becoming Leidah is one of those titles that does something so new and so unexpected that it almost leaves the reader open-mouthed and astounded. The setting may be familiar for readers of historical fiction: a small, isolated fishing village in 19th Century Norway where Christianity and the "old ways" both overlap and conflict. But Grierson does something remarkable with that setting. The book jumps back and forth in time with multiple chapters titled "What Was" and another se Michelle Grierson's Becoming Leidah is one of those titles that does something so new and so unexpected that it almost leaves the reader open-mouthed and astounded. The setting may be familiar for readers of historical fiction: a small, isolated fishing village in 19th Century Norway where Christianity and the "old ways" both overlap and conflict. But Grierson does something remarkable with that setting. The book jumps back and forth in time with multiple chapters titled "What Was" and another set of chapters titled "What Is." The "What Was" chapters show readers how a fisherman came to be married to a woman not completely human. The "What Is" chapters are presented in the voice of that couple's daughter, Leidah: an unusually small girl with blue, webbed hands and feet. Several chapters are narrated by Odhinn (Odin), one of the Gods of Norse mythology, who in Becoming Leidah takes on different animal forms as the book progresses. Over time, the reader assembles the entire story, myth and "reality," with frequent glimpses into individual characters that significantly change the way they're perceived. Grierson's prose voice is lyrical and varied. Becoming Ledah is the kind of book a reader slows down for because compelling as the plot is, the language demands to be savored. One could read the novel in a few hours, but I expect most readers will choose to stretch it out over a longer time. Whether or not one is interested in Norse mythology Grierson's particular, magical version of that mythology is something that stays with the reader after the book is completed: a sort of half-world teetering between the struggles of everyday life and the unfathomable. This is a book to buy now and to read more than once. I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via EdelweissPlus. The opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Meghan (plethora_of_pages)

    Becoming Leidah by Michelle Grierson A stunning debut that has left me reeling! For lovers of magical realism/lyrical prose/folklore/historical fiction/Norse mythology or any of the above ...get excited! Set in old Norway, this story is told in alternating time lines - What Is and What Was. Maeva, rescued by a shipwrecked fisherman is now married to her rescuer and has a daughter born with peculiar physical attributes. The town is quick to judge any “otherness” and Maeva keeps her daughter close Becoming Leidah by Michelle Grierson A stunning debut that has left me reeling! For lovers of magical realism/lyrical prose/folklore/historical fiction/Norse mythology or any of the above ...get excited! Set in old Norway, this story is told in alternating time lines - What Is and What Was. Maeva, rescued by a shipwrecked fisherman is now married to her rescuer and has a daughter born with peculiar physical attributes. The town is quick to judge any “otherness” and Maeva keeps her daughter close to keep her safe. As her daughter Leidah grows, her unusual appearance is harder to keep quiet, as are her unique abilities. Maeve is struggling as she feels the pull of her true home. This story was WILD. Weird, wonderful, a slow-moving entrancing story that had me wrapped up like one of the Three Sisters’ webs. The beautiful imagery, the atmospheric beckoning of the sea, the mystery of Maeva and the picture that slowly emerges of her identity.. it’s magnificent. My caution is prepare to be confused. Really lean into the mythical storytelling at work, the back and forth narrators and timelines. It felt like standing close to a painting, where you are only seeing the textures and blobs, but as the story unfolds you are stepping back, getting a wider view; by the end you (mostly) are seeing the painting in its entirety. There’s a few images evoked that were just so intense and spectacular that I won’t soon forget this novel. I can’t say I truly understood the whole plot. I would love a physical copy to re-read as perhaps now that I know where the story is going I can better appreciate the journey. For me, this was a genre bending delight. Some parts were a tad repetitive, I had a whole lot of unanswered questions throughout, and I didn’t quite understand Maeva’s relationship to Leidah for the first half of the book. Given how much I enjoyed the experience though, this feels like nitpicking. I recommend this, but not unless you’re up for an experience as I described. I think this one will have two camps - those who LOVE it, and those who aren’t a fan of the style. It’s obvious where I stand 😂 A fantastic debut! This publishes April 13, 2021! Thank you to Netgalley and to Simon & Schuster Canada for free access to an e-arc of this novel. All opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Honour

    Becoming Leidah is for the wanderers, the women, the faeries, and the witches. It is an epic and harrowing journey home, a song over the bones, reminding us of the awe and wildness where humanity meets the mystical. This book is an ode to love, birth, rebirth, death, and the relentless ebbs and flows of life, pulling us back and forth and forward all at once. It is a true culmination of the myths and stories we hold onto, weave for ourselves, and are subject to as women throughout the ages. I re Becoming Leidah is for the wanderers, the women, the faeries, and the witches. It is an epic and harrowing journey home, a song over the bones, reminding us of the awe and wildness where humanity meets the mystical. This book is an ode to love, birth, rebirth, death, and the relentless ebbs and flows of life, pulling us back and forth and forward all at once. It is a true culmination of the myths and stories we hold onto, weave for ourselves, and are subject to as women throughout the ages. I recommend this book to anyone who has looked up at the trees in the forest and wondered about what was inside; who has swum the depths of the sea admiring the otherworldliness of shells and creatures; or who has felt the curious pang of learning that your mother was a person with another life before you came into their world. Michelle Grierson is an impeccable writer and fearsome storyteller, and anyone who picks up her book will be reminded of the wild things, the yearnings of the heart, and the echo of the gods in the wind and the water. PS. I will never walk on wooden floorboards the same ;)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Took me a long time to read as the writing was so beautiful and made me feel such deep emotions.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shima

    It took me two days to finish this book, but I would have read it in a sitting if I had more than early mornings and late late nights scraps of time. It's funny because it's not the kind of story you'd associate with being un-put-downable (Not a real word!). It is a quiet novel in some ways. The story of a fisherman, his beautiful wife and their daughter, born with blue limbs and webbing between her fingers and toes. Except there is also a lost god, a watchful ghost, a spiteful witch and a terri It took me two days to finish this book, but I would have read it in a sitting if I had more than early mornings and late late nights scraps of time. It's funny because it's not the kind of story you'd associate with being un-put-downable (Not a real word!). It is a quiet novel in some ways. The story of a fisherman, his beautiful wife and their daughter, born with blue limbs and webbing between her fingers and toes. Except there is also a lost god, a watchful ghost, a spiteful witch and a terrible act of violence in the family's past that reverberates through time. This is the story of how wild things might be contained for a while, but they will never be truly tamed. Truth might be hidden, but never lost. Someone might steal from you your very soul and being for a while, but never forever. Don't read this book when you want: - 100% clarity, and a plot where you can just sit back and relax. - A book that feels traditional, familiar and easy. - A book to make you laugh, or amuse you. - A book that doesn't contain any triggers. (view spoiler)[ Sexual assault, gaslighting. (hide spoiler)] - A love story, or uncomplicated relationships. Read this book when you want: - A book that doesn't hold your hand and explain things, but lets you be a quiet observer, putting puzzle pieces together. - A book that weaves a quiet mythical retelling and a domestic thriller together, for real. - A book that feels like a breath of fresh air. - Complex characters. - To remember that no matter what, you too, can eventually be free.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Jackson

    Update -- I created a Goodreads Group to discuss this book. First I just created a "Discussion Topic", but Goodreads only allows one comment per person on a "Discussion Topic". A "Group" allows actual discussions. Any questions / comments / analyses? Let's discuss: Becoming Leidah Discussion. ----------- 4.5 stars, maybe 5. In some ways a classic tale of separated lovers, but with radical twists, including revisioning Norse mythology. The review by Jonathan says everything I want to say - for now. Update -- I created a Goodreads Group to discuss this book. First I just created a "Discussion Topic", but Goodreads only allows one comment per person on a "Discussion Topic". A "Group" allows actual discussions. Any questions / comments / analyses? Let's discuss: Becoming Leidah Discussion. ----------- 4.5 stars, maybe 5. In some ways a classic tale of separated lovers, but with radical twists, including revisioning Norse mythology. The review by Jonathan says everything I want to say - for now. Not only did I love reading this story, I feel it has changed me. I saw there's a 1-star review! That made me curious. I found the person has rated 7 books - a year ago one book got 5-stars; last week on the same day 6 books were given 1 star. Accident?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    With its lyrical, poetical verse and haunting, ethereal atmosphere, Becoming Leidah, is going to appeal to the reader who enjoys a story with slow, purposeful pacing and a good dose of weird. Never quite knowing exactly what is happening in this strange little story about a magical girl with webbed, blue appendages and her mother who is flaking patches of skin and collecting it to sew into a quilt … was a bit overwhelming at times, but I truly loved the beautiful writing on display here that kep With its lyrical, poetical verse and haunting, ethereal atmosphere, Becoming Leidah, is going to appeal to the reader who enjoys a story with slow, purposeful pacing and a good dose of weird. Never quite knowing exactly what is happening in this strange little story about a magical girl with webbed, blue appendages and her mother who is flaking patches of skin and collecting it to sew into a quilt … was a bit overwhelming at times, but I truly loved the beautiful writing on display here that kept me eagerly flipping pages. The book beats with a pulse of quiet urgency as you, the reader, are desperate to figure out the mystery of what is happening and how all things will connect - which they do, but in a somewhat open ended way. Combining historical fiction, magical realism, and Norse mythology this is a truly unique reading experience that defies classification. For those who aren’t put off by the unconventional, this is a fascinating and exquisitely singular read that had me riveted from the first page. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for my advance copy to review!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Just right off the bat, TW for (view spoiler)[rape (hide spoiler)] in this book. There is no trigger warning for it which is understandable as it is an Adult Fiction book, but still wanted to put it out there for anybody who might need it. Okay, so I loved this book so much. Selkie folklore is some of my favorite and I rarely come across any Adult Fantasy/Magical Realism novels that use selkies as a source of inspiration. This is set in Norway and blends the selkie folklore of that region with N Just right off the bat, TW for (view spoiler)[rape (hide spoiler)] in this book. There is no trigger warning for it which is understandable as it is an Adult Fiction book, but still wanted to put it out there for anybody who might need it. Okay, so I loved this book so much. Selkie folklore is some of my favorite and I rarely come across any Adult Fantasy/Magical Realism novels that use selkies as a source of inspiration. This is set in Norway and blends the selkie folklore of that region with Norse mythology which I never knew I needed, but I loved it. Grierson has such lyrical and beautiful prose and that added to the narrative just worked really well for me. I loved the multiple perspectives we got from the characters which could have easily gone wrong in the way of GRRM but Grierson handles the multiple perspectives and the alternate chronological narratives deftly. Never once did I feel overwhelmed or confused by the narratives which, I think in the hands of a less attentive writer would have happened. I love LOVE Maeva, like I would die for her. Her narrative and story line are just beautiful and tragic. But so much of it works even when you're crying and unsure of her future. And then Leidah, I just love this girl. Grierson wrote from this 8 year old girl's perspective and never once did it come across as too precocious or even too child-like like most writers who attempt to write from a child's perspective. Leidah's curiosity and big heart just made my heart swell. All of the characters felt really well-developed and real which I think is important especially in a novel that is using folklore and mythology as a foundation. I recommend this book SO MUCH. There is so much about it that I loved on top of the fact that it uses selkies.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Romina Alexandra

    Magical. Ethereal. Lyrical. Provocative. Primitive. Just like a good myth :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    rina

    This was interesting, it explored a part of Norse mythology that I’m not very familiar with. The storytelling was quite ambiguous, or at least the ending was. I really enjoyed the writing, setting, atmosphere, and Maeva and Leidah; they were the only characters I cared about here. Plot wise, I felt like quite a big portion was spent going in circles, but it did move forward at the latter part of the book. Nevertheless, reading this book was a unique and good experience. I'd recommend to those wh This was interesting, it explored a part of Norse mythology that I’m not very familiar with. The storytelling was quite ambiguous, or at least the ending was. I really enjoyed the writing, setting, atmosphere, and Maeva and Leidah; they were the only characters I cared about here. Plot wise, I felt like quite a big portion was spent going in circles, but it did move forward at the latter part of the book. Nevertheless, reading this book was a unique and good experience. I'd recommend to those who like historical fantasy and magical realism!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sheena Buccola

    Very beautiful and intriguing, but it also left me confused.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    A very moving, magical, and powerful story about the bond between mother and daughter, at the center of a transition between the “old world” and the new. I loved the way the story weaved through time between “what was” and “what is”. Beautiful imagery, and an interesting take on Norse mythology.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dawnrae Oliveira

    The story format was a bit confusing to follow along with at times, but the effort was well worth it in the end. A unique style for a unique story!

  16. 5 out of 5

    The Starry Library

    A supernatural love story encapsulates a small family as deep as the sea and as cold as ice in this debut story by Michelle Grierson. It follows Leidah, a girl born with blue skin and webbed fingers and toes who awakens to an ancestral magic that has her Mother guarding a tragic secret. Maeva, the mother, is hiding a mystery about her past that will have devastating implications for her entranced husband. Fate weaves a delicate web that is heartbreaking and unavoidable for the family, who must em A supernatural love story encapsulates a small family as deep as the sea and as cold as ice in this debut story by Michelle Grierson. It follows Leidah, a girl born with blue skin and webbed fingers and toes who awakens to an ancestral magic that has her Mother guarding a tragic secret. Maeva, the mother, is hiding a mystery about her past that will have devastating implications for her entranced husband. Fate weaves a delicate web that is heartbreaking and unavoidable for the family, who must embrace their ancestry, as the present and future are dependent upon their secrets coming to light. This was a beguiling tale about how love and loss can help someone to embrace who they are by remembering who they were, who they are, and who they are to become. It featured Norse mythology and some witchy elements that tied nicely together. It was part fable and part magical realism which read like an old forgotten legend. The writing was atmospheric and made me feel as though I was living on the edge of a wintry forest in Norway. Overall I felt the book was a little disjointed because I didn’t feel the story about the fates tied in with Leidah’s story that well. The elusive nature of Maeva for most of the book made it difficult for me as a reader to understand how it connected to the shapeshifter character. It seemed as though I was reading two different stories that were very loosely intertwined in some evasive way. That may have been the intention by the author, but I would have preferred if the connections between the characters were clearer earlier on. Not the easiest story to grasp, but original and suspenseful nonetheless. I look forward to reading more by the author.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janine Padro

    Grierson, I am convinced, is MAGIC at magical realism. The story is beautifully constructed, from the layers to the prose, and the way she uses reality in which to base magic off of is extraordinary. Lovely book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Krysta

    I enjoyed reading this so so much. It’s weird, it’s confusing at times and some answers are left unanswered and I really could care less. I couldn’t put it down and I have a serious week spot for folklore and mythology and fairytales and this has all three. I almost dropped a star for leaving some things so unsure, but honestly, those few open questions didn’t disrupt my enjoyment one bit. This is weird at times, like the old ways of mythology type of weird, so creative and I marveled at the old I enjoyed reading this so so much. It’s weird, it’s confusing at times and some answers are left unanswered and I really could care less. I couldn’t put it down and I have a serious week spot for folklore and mythology and fairytales and this has all three. I almost dropped a star for leaving some things so unsure, but honestly, those few open questions didn’t disrupt my enjoyment one bit. This is weird at times, like the old ways of mythology type of weird, so creative and I marveled at the old way of story telling. It was fitting since this story is a story of mythology, a story of Odin and the 3 witches of what was, what is and what will be. “These sisters were older than any god, and bowed down to neither man nor beast. They controlled all that was, all that is, and all that ever will be. They carved the destiny of everything into the bark and leaves of the tree, pouring sacred water down its trunk and into its roots.” This all being said, most of the time it felt like magical realism. This story starts in the water, fisherman finding a girl. You think he rescues her (this beginning was the most confusing, I wasn’t quite sure what was happening), but he steals something and you don’t know what, a jacket perhaps? A cloak? You know she desperately wants it back but why? She needs it before she goes back. Why is he keeping it from her? Why is she so adamant to get it? Is there treasure? A key? And back to where? This story doesn’t tell you anything, it tells the story as they go through their future life, unsure how they got there, and because of the three witches, because time for them is never a straight path to the feature, the present is sometimes the past, the past sometimes the future; this story follows suit, giving you 4 different timelines to figure out what the heck is going on, who is she, what is she, where did she come from, and why is her daughter blue? I loved it. If you really enjoy Norse mythology tales, you will enjoy this just as much.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    “My world tipped sideways, as if my head were halfway into the sea, one eye above the water and one eye below, an entire other world—the way things truly are—hidden but always there, waiting to be seen.” This snippet from Leidah is pretty much the premise of this mythology-based fantasy which takes place in 19th century Norway. I do recommend at least a brief understanding of the god Odin before starting this, and if you don’t, a quick google search can give you the highlights. The concept hooked “My world tipped sideways, as if my head were halfway into the sea, one eye above the water and one eye below, an entire other world—the way things truly are—hidden but always there, waiting to be seen.” This snippet from Leidah is pretty much the premise of this mythology-based fantasy which takes place in 19th century Norway. I do recommend at least a brief understanding of the god Odin before starting this, and if you don’t, a quick google search can give you the highlights. The concept hooked me. The non-linear storytelling found me flailing a few times. As conceptually creative and intelligent as the tale is, with time being fluid and what-was more important than what-is, as Meava teaches her daughter - it’s almost too avant-garde for its own good, intimidating the average reader like myself for fear of not fully understanding because I’m just not cultured or artistic enough to ‘get it’. “Maeva is leaving this world without him, in the same moment he is being born with wings to fly to her.” I understand the tragic irony of this passage, but from this point, things are purposefully obfuscated and tangled. The ending is like an abstract painting, frustrating because I get the sense of it, but after focusing so intensely trying to follow the story, I wanted it finally spelled out <— typing that I just snorted at myself; why would the book suddenly spell it all out when it hadn’t done so throughout? But, Becoming Leidah truly is beautifully poetic and imaginative, I just recommend someone be in the mood for more ethereal than prosaic.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Louize

    * This Canadian debut is set in nineteenth-century Norway, where the marriage of time and magic brought forth uninhibited wonder. Read more from The Page Walker. * This Canadian debut is set in nineteenth-century Norway, where the marriage of time and magic brought forth uninhibited wonder. Read more from The Page Walker.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kritika

    “Maeva is leaving the world without him, in the same moment he is being born with wings to fly to her” First thing first, the cover flattered me a lot and it was one of my reasons for picking up this book and read it. Also, after reading the synopsis I was very intrigued and it immediately caught my attention then I decided that I have to read this one and see for myself what the book is all about. And I tell you this book is unlike any other. It was full of magic, my favorite aspect of any book. “Maeva is leaving the world without him, in the same moment he is being born with wings to fly to her” First thing first, the cover flattered me a lot and it was one of my reasons for picking up this book and read it. Also, after reading the synopsis I was very intrigued and it immediately caught my attention then I decided that I have to read this one and see for myself what the book is all about. And I tell you this book is unlike any other. It was full of magic, my favorite aspect of any book. A debut novel by Michelle Grierson is unique in itself, with amazing characters and one-of-its-kind. Becoming Leidah is a mythology-based fantasy with the characters and the plot set in Norway. Becoming Leidah follows the story of a young woman Maeva in Orken, Norway. It starts with when Maeva is rescued from the sea and is brought to a small village in Norway by two fishermen friends Pieter and Hans in the 19th century. Maeva is not what she seems to like and the locals aren’t particularly in awe of her, since she’s is different from the rest of them. When she marries the fisherman who rescued her, Pieter, she gives birth to a daughter with the help of the midwife Helger and named her Leidah. But sooner Maeva realizes that her daughter may not be entirely human after all and is risking the entirety to bring out the truth even in front of her husband. Becoming Leidah is conceptually intelligent and a creative tale with poetic narration and the mention of the Norse mythology god Odin. I think the writing was absolutely beautiful with the various references of the Norse God and the Norse mythology. I am very much fascinated by the writing style of Michelle which is very poetic and lyrical and also wholesome at the same time. The dual narratives, i.e., present and past narratives give us a clear glimpse of Maeva’s history and when Leidah is eight-year-old and her present life. The book was fast-paced and kept me on the edge from the very first page. The notion hooked me. Feels like the book is purely imaginative and I felt the characters playing their part right in front of me. The plot is like the plethora of layers of prose comprised together to tick off the base magic in an extraordinary way. Chapters are pretty short, which is always a plus point for me in any book. Language is sheen and exceptional. The story is powerful and I like the fact how it was presented. Also, a little advice that beforehand knowledge of the God Odin would be nice and helpful in the context of the book, from my experience. I recommend someone to be in the mood for something poetic and mystical than figurative. This book is artistic and might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Though, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Mantas

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Somewhat of what I was looking for in a novel, though the story continued to be so disjointed, it was frustrating at times. You had to read a paragraph in to see who was the POV and by 4 paragraphs in the chapters would end. It wasn't too abrupt, but it was a lot of change. I think there were no less than six POV in this book, and there were at least two different timelines. Other than that critique, the book was enjoyable. It shared about lots of cultural change from worshiping the Norse Gods t Somewhat of what I was looking for in a novel, though the story continued to be so disjointed, it was frustrating at times. You had to read a paragraph in to see who was the POV and by 4 paragraphs in the chapters would end. It wasn't too abrupt, but it was a lot of change. I think there were no less than six POV in this book, and there were at least two different timelines. Other than that critique, the book was enjoyable. It shared about lots of cultural change from worshiping the Norse Gods to the one, Christian God. It was fictional, but I am sure some of it was based on facts from that time. It also didn't really say what time it was , like say 1690 or 1870? I had no clue. Finally, the main character, Leidah, as the title tells, does not know what she really is, and by the end of the tale, the author does not make it clearly known. Maybe for those who are much more familiar with Norse Mythology understood the ending, but to me I was left guessing what occurred. The only thing I could slightly relate it to would be an original, somewhat gruesome story of, "The Little Mermaid," where the mother of the main character goes on living for 8-9 years on land and does not commit suicide. The only additional difference is she is not reunited with her one true love.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Zawhtut

    Spoiler ahead. I really hoped Leidah to become something. She did. But the reason behind it and how could she able to do that, unexplained. The only characters attracted to me in this book are Helgar(old midwife) and Leidah. Too bad that the age of Leidah till the end of the book is just eight. So most of the time, the story was being told from the eight years old girl's point of view. I do understand that because of the three sisters, the story was being told in three different formats: "what wa Spoiler ahead. I really hoped Leidah to become something. She did. But the reason behind it and how could she able to do that, unexplained. The only characters attracted to me in this book are Helgar(old midwife) and Leidah. Too bad that the age of Leidah till the end of the book is just eight. So most of the time, the story was being told from the eight years old girl's point of view. I do understand that because of the three sisters, the story was being told in three different formats: "what was", "what is" and so on. But that format cripples the pace of the story telling. Eg. The pace build up in "what is" chapters were routinely suspended by "what was" chapters. No climax as well as no plot twists. The character, Heilda, a jealous witch, was being introduce half way around the book and not engaging enough. She's a villain, yeah. The gift she gave to Leidha as a birthday present slip out of the story unexplained again. I want to give four stars because of the Norse Mythology being introduced. Three sisters weaving Time is very very interesting. Actually I was waiting how those three sisters relate to Maeva and who Maeva really is. A nymph? One of the sisters? The answer is none. No where to be found in the story. Even the ending doesn't seem like what become of Leidah. I kept my hopes up this to be like the book, "Circe" but it failed me. But I have to admit I really love the first chapters devoted to the birth of Leidah which was simply mesmerizing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was sooooo good. Oh man. I think I chose perfectly in reading this AFTER reading A Witch's Heart. Hmm. CW: Rape (Not graphic, but it's the whole basis of the relationship between Maeva and her husband, miscarriage) This story was set in the 1800s, I don't know much about Norse History/Mythology/etc, but this was extremely well written. Maeva was doomed from the start. Truly. I don't want to say too much because I think many of my friends would really enjoy this. But oh, my heart broke for Mae This was sooooo good. Oh man. I think I chose perfectly in reading this AFTER reading A Witch's Heart. Hmm. CW: Rape (Not graphic, but it's the whole basis of the relationship between Maeva and her husband, miscarriage) This story was set in the 1800s, I don't know much about Norse History/Mythology/etc, but this was extremely well written. Maeva was doomed from the start. Truly. I don't want to say too much because I think many of my friends would really enjoy this. But oh, my heart broke for Maeva. She was waiting for Odin to come, and thinking he had disguised himself as a human man, she was raped by the man and then "caught" and taken as a wife and forced to live with a man who reaaaaaaaally did his best to keep her hidden- going so far as to hide part of her skin as a PART of his boat. He rebuked her for being 'involved' with the old ways while he had a side chick doing magic from for him!! Maeva wasn't involved with the old ways so much as she IS the old ways. I loved the perspectives, of Maeva relaying the back story, and Leidah her daughter who was trying to come to terms with who she is and trying to understand all the distance in her life: the distance between she and her mother, her mother and father, she and the village she was born in but can't visit. It was so beautifully written and well done. And, in between this, the author did such a great job of weaving in mythology and the struggle people felt between leaving the Old Gods and accepting the new "God" and what that meant for living in a society with new beliefs. I won't say much more because then I'm just giving the plot away. This is another one if you like mythology, strong women, and just mothers protecting their children any way they can.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leigh Ann

    Norse mythology, magical realism, lyrical prose, exploration of what it means to take back what was taken from you and live in your own skin. At times I felt a little lost and confused, and I'm quite comfortable with a non-linear plots (actually, prefer them and hate when everything is spelled out for me), but I do feel that if it had a tad bit more explanation of the mythology or who/what Mavae and Odhin were to each other, it might have been a 5 star. Norse mythology, magical realism, lyrical prose, exploration of what it means to take back what was taken from you and live in your own skin. At times I felt a little lost and confused, and I'm quite comfortable with a non-linear plots (actually, prefer them and hate when everything is spelled out for me), but I do feel that if it had a tad bit more explanation of the mythology or who/what Mavae and Odhin were to each other, it might have been a 5 star.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Macris

    I enjoyed this! I felt like the story was new and refreshing. It shifted times and perspectives a lot, which was confusing at the beginning but became easier to decipher as the book went along. It was presented in very short narrative chunks, and I think I would have liked that the chunks be longer with less switching of perspective. Overall though, I enjoyed it and thought it was a worthwhile read!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Gorgeous and lyrical. Magical novel. Hated that it had to end

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carly M

    3.5 ⭐️ The author has a great talent for beautiful writing but the plot of this story was a little too hard to follow taking away from the vivid imagery. It leaves a lot of the plot to be filled in by the reader and if you are unfamiliar with some types of folklore you may not draw the conclusions the author intends. I will be interested to read more by this author as she has a lyrical and engaging writing style. The storytelling itself could use some work though the ambiguity of this particular 3.5 ⭐️ The author has a great talent for beautiful writing but the plot of this story was a little too hard to follow taking away from the vivid imagery. It leaves a lot of the plot to be filled in by the reader and if you are unfamiliar with some types of folklore you may not draw the conclusions the author intends. I will be interested to read more by this author as she has a lyrical and engaging writing style. The storytelling itself could use some work though the ambiguity of this particular story may be intentional for the magical realism genre it falls into.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Cool fantasy With magic and gods and witches and more.....great writing! Thoroughly enjoyed this.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    So mystically fabulous!

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