[A quick note: This was an intriguing title when I read the synopsis, but it was the cover that captured me. I love Northern Lights and the colors were just gorgeous. I went out on a limb and requested it from Penguin Teen. It’s slightly outside my usual reading but I really enjoyed it. It’s fun to branch out every so often.]
“𝙄𝙩’𝙨 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙩𝙧𝙪𝙚. 𝙉𝙤𝙗𝙤𝙙𝙮’𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙤𝙛𝙛 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙢𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧. 𝙈𝙮 𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙜𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙮𝙤𝙣𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙮𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙄𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙯𝙚: 𝙞𝙩’𝙨 𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚, 𝙞𝙩’𝙨 𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙢𝙖𝙡, 𝙞𝙩’𝙨 𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙡. 𝙄’𝙢 𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙝𝙚’𝙨 𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙙 𝙪𝙨 𝙩𝙤𝙜𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙡𝙞𝙛𝙚𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚. 𝙉𝙤𝙬 𝙞𝙩’𝙨 𝙧𝙞𝙥𝙥𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙪𝙨 𝙖𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩.”—Nicole Lesperance
Dripping with Norwegian folklore, this magical novel follows Eli as she struggles with the loss of her mother. Ten years later, she tries to remember what happened that fateful night on the frozen fjords in Norway. Her mother whistled at the Northern Lights and vanished. Now Eli lives in Cape Cod with her dad. When the Northern Lights become visible over the Cape for just one night, Eli can’t resist the possibility of seeing her mother just one more time.
This story is beautifully written, its pages filled with magical realism and folklore. Set upon the backdrop of frozen glaciers and stunning northern lights, it speaks of loss and acceptance. The prose is poetic and elegant. And each of the stories woven into the pages are lovely. Its a quick read that was difficult to put down. While it wasn’t the type of book I generally seek out, I immensely enjoyed it. There was just enough magic and suspense to keep my attention.
I loved the deep mother-daughter bond between Eli and her mother. It was heart-wrenching at times to read about Eli’s struggle with abandonment and some of her childhood experiences. I loved the way magic was woven into the events of the story. Just enough to be ambiguous, but clearly there.
“𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚’𝙨 𝙣𝙤 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙙 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙄 𝙛𝙚𝙚𝙡. 𝙄 𝙢𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙨𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙢 𝙢𝙮 𝙡𝙪𝙣𝙜𝙨 𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙢𝙮 𝙗𝙤𝙙𝙮 𝙤𝙧 𝙄 𝙢𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙛𝙡𝙮 𝙪𝙥 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙘𝙡𝙤𝙪𝙙𝙨 𝙤𝙧 𝙄 𝙢𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙛𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙢𝙮𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛 𝙤𝙛𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙢𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙞𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙧𝙤𝙡𝙡 𝙙𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙟𝙤𝙧𝙙. 𝙊𝙧 𝙄 𝙢𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙡 𝙪𝙥 𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙘𝙧𝙮 𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙢𝙮 𝙢𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧, 𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙡𝙚𝙛𝙩 𝙢𝙚 𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙖 𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙗𝙤𝙖𝙧𝙙 𝙗𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙤𝙛 𝙨𝙘𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙖 𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙚𝙙𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙣𝙙.”
This is first and foremost a story about loss, about healing, about the lengths a daughter will go to find answers and closure. It was emotional at times, and touched on mental health issues too, which were generally in the background. But in short, it was simply a beautiful story.
What I enjoyed most was the folklore and setting. There were some lovely Norwegian stories depicted and woven into the lives of the main characters. I loved the parallels, and the way magic made certain tales come to life. Magic was always there, hiding in the seams of the world. Eli’s mother knew exactly how to tug on these seams and bring the magic to life. Her true love was in books and stories, but her ability meant she was often making the stories come to life, and these stories were her undoing. So Eli’s mother even tried to abandon them.
“𝙎𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙙𝙖𝙪𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙛𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙫𝙤𝙞𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙡𝙚𝙛𝙩, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙬𝙤 𝙨𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙚𝙢𝙥𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙚𝙨. 𝙃𝙚𝙧 𝙙𝙖𝙪𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙪𝙣 𝙞𝙣 𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙨𝙤𝙡𝙖𝙧 𝙨𝙮𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙢, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙜𝙖𝙡𝙖𝙭𝙮.”
The style of writing was unique. It jumped between past and present. From chapter to chapter we get glimpses into Eli’s present, and then Eli’s past based on the book or diary she wrote for herself at a young age to remember everything that had happened as a child. I liked this style, and it fit well.
Overall, this was a gorgeous story. It wasn’t in line with my tastes, yet, I still devoured it in two days. I think for people who like magical realism and connect with stories of loss, it will be ideal. MY RATING: 4/5⭐️
A big thank you to Penguin Teen for the eARC copy in exchange for my honest review.