New Novel: Ingrid – Daughter of The Alvar Series #1
On a lonely windswept island off the coast of Sweden, there is a place so desolate it feels abandoned by the fates. And yet, it possesses a strange beauty, which summons souls to awakening. This is the Alvar. Its very nature is a contradiction, and it is this ambiguity that calls to Ingrid, daughter to the vicar of Smedby.
Raised as God-fearing, she believes in charity, and when Kalle returns unexpectedly to the island community, her instinct is to help him. Considered a pariah by all due to his sordid past, one that saw him exiled for many years, he ventures into the Alvar to live, to escape the censure of the villagers. In this desolate place, how will he survive? Ingrid resolves to help him.
No one will tell Ingrid why Kalle was exiled. Her father commands her to stay away from the poacher. Their housekeeper warns her off. Her brother does not know what happened. Her French tutor, Max, is new to the island. The mystery is overwhelming and the only one who knows the truth is Kalle himself. In the spirit of charity, and also curiosity, Ingrid befriends Kalle, hoping to uncover the past, hoping also to help him survive the Alvar.
A gypsy reveals to Ingrid that she will lose everything, but the cossetted vicar’s daughter is headstrong. She enters the Alvar despite every warning … and meets her fate there.
This is a twofold story. On the one hand it’s about Ingrid, the protected daughter of the local vicar, and on the other this is about the Alvar, a lonely sweep of land off the Swedish coast. When a man long away from their community returns (Kalle) Ingrid is intrigued. This man has a past that no one wants to talk about, everyone telling her to stay away from him. She is stubborn, though, and doesn’t listen, which leads to all kinds of trouble.
Hannah Warren really takes us into this windswept and cold land with vivid descriptions and an eye for the beauty that resides there despite the conditions. She also takes us into the lives of her characters with insight and compassion. There is the vicar himself, a good man, but so strict. There is Johan, Ingrid’s brother, studying to become a vicar himself. There’s Max, her French tutor, a man also with a past, one that makes him timid in his declarations. There’s Mrs Mags, the housekeeper who becomes the mother at the vicarage. There’s the ghostly presence of Ingrid’s actual mother, and the community at large with all their woes and joys, as well as prejudice.
Do read this. One becomes spellbound by this unfolding tale of young Ingrid, a girl who goes her own way and then cannot return to what was. An excellent read indeed.