Audiobook Review – The Witches of Vardo

Title: The Witches of Vardo

Author: Anya Bergman

Genre: Historical Fiction

Goodreads Rating: 4.31

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Source: ARC

Synopsis:

Norway, 1662. A dangerous time to be a woman, when even dancing can lead to accusations of witchcraft. When Zigri, desperate and grieving after the loss of her husband and son, embarks on an affair with the local merchant, it’s not long before she is sent to the fortress at Vardø, to be tried and condemned as a witch.

Zigri’s daughter Ingeborg sets off into the wilderness to try to bring her mother back home. Accompanying her on this quest is Maren – herself the daughter of a witch ­- whose wild nature and unconquerable spirit gives Ingeborg the courage to venture into the unknown, and to risk all she has to save her family.

Also captive in the fortress is Anna Rhodius, once the King of Denmark’s mistress, who has been sent to Vardø in disgrace. What will she do – and who will she betray – to return to her privileged life at court?

These Witches of Vardø are stronger than even the King of Denmark. In an age weighted against them they refuse to be victims. They will have their justice. All they need do is show their power.

My Review:

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Zaffre UK for approving me for an ARC of this book. This was one of my highly anticipated read of 2023 and it did not disappoint.

Told from two POV we follow the lives of Anna and Ingeborg as they both try to survive during a time where every woman can be suspected of witchcraft. Out of the two women’s stories I felt more drawn to Ingeborg’s. After losing her father and brother she becomes the glue that’s holding her family together. Her mother is withdrawn and her younger sister Kirsten depends on her for survival. Even before the main action of the story started Ingeborg showed her tenacity and strength in the face of adversary, I feel we all have a little of Ingeborg in us, waiting to be unleashed.

Anna was an interesting woman with an even more interesting background. I loved her knowledge of herbs and medicine and how she helped others through their ailments. My heart broke for her when she experienced her own heartbreak and I think it is these events that made her come across as quite cold at times. She soon finds herself in a difficult situation, one no one wishes to be in.

This story is seeped in history, magic and family. It explores the complex relationships between mothers and daughters and how fellow women treated one another. Loyalty and unity are truly tested and female empowerment is at the forefront of this story. I was captivated from the first page and barely came up for air whilst exploring this dark and twisted part of history.

Based on true events The Witches of Vardø is heart wrenchingly beautiful and perfect for the witchy fans out there.

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