Sunday, June 25, 2023

The Weaver and the Witch Queen by Genevieve Gornichec

"A woman need not be defined by her men. She can stand for herself and make her own way."


The lives of two women—one desperate only to save her missing sister, the other a witch destined to become queen of Norway—intertwine in this spellbinding, powerful novel of Viking Age history and myth from the acclaimed author of The Witch’s Heart.

Oddny and Gunnhild meet as children in tenth century Norway, and they could not be more different: Oddny hopes for a quiet life, while Gunnhild burns for power and longs to escape her cruel mother. But after a visiting wisewoman makes an ominous prophecy that involves Oddny, her sister Signy, and Gunnhild, the three girls take a blood oath to help one another always.

When Oddny’s farm is destroyed and Signy is kidnapped by Viking raiders, Oddny is set adrift from the life she imagined—but she's determined to save her sister no matter the cost, even as she finds herself irresistibly drawn to one of the raiders who participated in the attack. And in the far north, Gunnhild, who fled her home years ago to learn the ways of a witch, is surprised to find her destiny seems to be linked with that of the formidable King Eirik, heir apparent to the ruler of all Norway.

But the bonds—both enchanted and emotional—that hold the two women together are strong, and when they find their way back to each other, these bonds will be tested in ways they never could have foreseen in this deeply moving novel of magic, history, and sworn sisterhood.


I love a fairytale retelling so it's obvious I will also enjoy an Icelandic/Norse saga reimagining. I've never heard of the saga of Gunnhild, Mother of Kings before reading this book. I've skimmed a bit of it, and can't wait to dig in and learn more. Read this book first if you'd like to enjoy the story, because knowing the saga beforehand may give away a few things.

There's so much to unpack here but one of my biggest takeaways is  the emotional bond between these young women as they navigate challenging world of Vikings society.  Their commitment to each other is continuously challenged as they fight unknown adversaries and are pulled in their own directions in life.

The women portrayed had bold personalities. They were strong and capable of defending themselves, and they didn't rely on the men in their families or relationships. These women supported each other and found strength in their own abilities. The author also includes LGBTQ representation, and I am here for it. 

The pacing of the book in the beginning was a bit slow for me, and I found myself having a tough time feeling this book as it got going. There was a lot of setting the stage for the overall story. I found that it was worth the wait, so grab your tea, comfy blanket and dig in. 

Overall, anyone who loves fantasy, but also Norse/Iclandic Folklore will love this imaginative retelling.

The Weaver and the Witch Queen will be published July 25, 2023 and is available for pre-order on Amazon and Bookshop.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!