Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: Grendel's Mother


02_Grendel's MotherGrendel's Mother: The Saga of the Wyrd-Wife

by Susan Signe Morrison
Publication Date: September 25, 2015
Top Hat Books
Paperback & eBook; 238 Pages
ISBN-10: 1785350099

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An amber bead. A gold and glass drinking horn. A ring engraved with Thor’s hammer – all artifacts from a Germanic tribe that carved a space for itself through brutality and violence on a windswept land . Brimhild weaves peace and conveys culture to the kingdom, until the secret of her birth threatens to tear apart the fragile political stability. This is her story – the tale of Grendel’s Mother. She is no monster as portrayed in the Old English epic, Beowulf. We learn her side of the story and that of her defamed child. We see the many passages of her life: the brine-baby who floated mysteriously to shore; the hall-queen presiding over the triumphant building of the golden hall Heorot and victim of sexual and political betrayal; the exiled mere-wife, who ekes out a marginal life by an uncanny bog as a healer and contends with the menacing Beowulf; and the seer, who prophesizes what will occur to her adopted people. We learn how the invasion by brutal men is not a fairy tale, but a disaster doomed to cycle relentlessly through human history. Only the surviving women can sing poignant laments, preserve a glittering culture, and provide hope for the future.
"What a gift! Grendel’s Mother is sure to become an integral part of every class on Beowulf." -Candace Robb, author of the Owen Archer Mystery Series and, as Emma Campion, A Triple Knot
"This fascinating narrative is to readers today what John Gardner’s Grendel was to readers of the 1970s." -Haruko Momma, Professor of English, New York University
 Review: I have a vague recollection of reading Beowulf in high school. I think it was 10th grade honors English. The sad part is that I don't recall much of the story. I only remember an animated version that Mrs Shrag played for us.

I was intrigued by this story, and though it was a short read it was one you need your brain for especially to wrap your brain around all the names of the characters.

Brimhild's story is a heartbreaking one. She arrives much like Moses from the sea and grows up to be a good and kind woman who catches the eye of the king. There's is a love match, but things change and soon she is cast out of her home with her son.

I loved the imagery of this story. I also loved the tales of the Gods, Thor, Odin and Loki and their antics. The only problem with that for me was that every time there was a mention of Loki, I thought about Tom Hiddleston and Chris Helmsworth.


 I wanted to say something import about the story, but all I can say is that it made me want to revisit Beowulf sometime in the future. Whether or not, I'll enjoy that tale the second time around remains to be seen, but Grendel's Mother will peak your interest in the story that was the inspiration for this novel.

This was a quick read for me, and I didn't want to put it down once I started it.

Rating: 5 flowers



03_Susan Signe Morrison About the Authors 

Susan Signe Morrison writes on topics lurking in the margins of history, ranging from recently uncovered diaries of a teenaged girl in World War II to medieval women pilgrims, excrement in the Middle Ages, and waste. Susan Morrison is Professor of English at Texas State University. She grew up in New Jersey by the Great Swamp, a National Wildlife Refuge with terrain not unlike that of Grendel's Mother's mere in Beowulf. Committed to bringing the lives of medieval women to a wider audience and making the ethics of waste fundamental to our study of literature, Susan can be found at grendelsmotherthenovel.com, homefrontgirldiary.com, and amedievalwomanscompanion.com and tweets @medievalwomen.

Susan's BA is from Swarthmore College and her A.M./Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Brown University. She has studied in Germany and taught in the former East Germany. Susan’s publications have appeared in such journals as The Yearbook of Langland Studies, Medievalia et Humanistica, Medieval Feminist Forum, The Chaucer Review, Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, The New York Times, Women In German Yearbook , Journal of Popular Culture , Amsterdamer Beitr√§ge zur √§lteren Germanistik, as well as numerous book chapters. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, daughter and son.

For more information visit Susan's website.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 28
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, March 30

Thursday, March 31
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Monday, April 4

Tuesday, April 5

Wednesday, April 6

Thursday, April 7

Sunday, April 10

Tuesday, April 12

Thursday, April 14

Friday, April 15

Giveaway

To win one of two copies of Grendel's Mother by Susan Signe Morrison please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


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