The story set in the islands seems idyllic. The family of Fiskare is close knit, lovable and part of a
Swedish community. The ethnicity is quite marked and when a exotic relation from Rio turns up you know
sparks will fly and they do.
Then the equalizer of the Great War starts and the boys enlist, the household gets broken up, Astrid gets
torn away from the love of her life Kemmet by her vindictive mother and there is general heartbreak around.
The story continues in the setting of wartime Europe and extremely harsh it is most of the time. One of the
sons dies, another is wounded and only one escapes unscathed physically, changed completely mentally. The war
descriptive and brutal and all episodes in the various villages were quite difficult to read, fathom and
accept. War however is never pretty and this was very harsh.
We then go back to peacetime, back to the islands, back to a reconciliation and trying to pull together
broken strands of everyone's life to make it all whole and complete again.
The settings were different - from the peace and calm of a backwater island, to Europe and everything in
between. A family of young men, peaceful and kind and basically good were returned in slightly different
form after the ravages of war. Acceptance of being different was an important feature of the story.
An unusual book in unusual settings. The horrors of war well told.
Sent by Cathedral Rock Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.