On the wind-swept southern coast of Norway, sixteen-year-old Else is out on the icy sea, dragging her oars through the waves while, above her, storm clouds are gathering. Surrounded by mountains, snow and white-capped water, she looks across the fjord and dreams of another life, of escape and faraway lands.
Back on shore, her father sits alone in his boathouse with a jar of homebrew. In the Best Room, her mother covers her bruises and seeks solace in prayer. Each tries to hide the truth from this isolated, God-fearing community they call home.
Until one night changes everything.
More than thirty years later, the return of an old friend forces Else to relive the events that marked the end of her childhood.
Michelle - 4 Star
I found the story of The Last Boat home realistic and tragic. Else is a young girl who instead of enjoying life and having fun, is saddled with secrets. Living in a small town with an emphasis on religion and Christian values, Else feels compelled to keep many secrets, not just her own, but those of her mother and her alcoholic and abusive father. Dea Brovig does a good job of keeping the reader on edge trying to figure out who is the father of Else’s baby. When the mystery was finally revealed, it was nothing that I could have predicted.
The novel does a good job of jumping back and forth between the past when Else was a young girl, to the present, where she is now a mother and grandmother. Dea Brovig does a nice job of transitioning the reader through both time periods without making it too confusing or hard to follow. There are not a lot of characters and the ones that are introduced in the beginning carry out throughout the whole novel which made it easy to keep track of everyone and not have to go back and remind myself who was who again.
Overall I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. It was a nice slow read with an even pace. Great for rainy day or cottage reading.
Thank you to Penguin Random House UK for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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