18 August 2022
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of the book
The story goes that, many years ago, the remote North Atlantic archipelago of St Hia was home to a monster.
Her name was Thordis, and she had been adored. But when she was unable to provide her husband with a child, he sought one elsewhere - and Thordis was driven to a terrible act, before disappearing from her home.
Today, lashed by storms and far from the mainland, the islands are dangerous. Many have been lost to a wild stretch of water known as the Hollow Sea.
But to one visitor, it feels like a haven.
After several years trying to become a mother, Scottie has made the heart-breaking decision to leave her home and her husband in search of a fresh start. Upon her arrival on St Hia, the islanders warn her against asking questions about Thordis - but Scottie can't resist the mystery of what happened to the woman whose story became legend.
After years of secrecy, can Scottie unravel Thordis's story? And how will doing so change her own..?
📖 My Review..
Scottie and her husband are desperate to start a family but the emotional effects of failed IVF attempts have left Scottie exhausted and in need of a new beginning. Leaving her bewildered husband behind, Scottie travels to the remote island of St Hia to take part in the annual seal count and it is in this isolated place where Scottie starts to learn more about herself and the secrets of her past.
Running alongside Scottie's story, we go back in time to meet Thordis, who left her Norwegian home to marry a fisherman and live with him on the remote island of Bride. Thordis also yearns for a child and it is this parallel which pulls all the shapes of this fascinating story together.
Mesmerising, lyrical and utterly enchanting The Hollow Sea pulled me in as tenderly as the tides which crash around these isolated islands. Sensitively described with a wonderfully creative edginess both Scottie and Thordis have their flaws but it is these very differences which binds their stories together and the result is something quite, quite special.
The myths and legends of our islands are passed down the generations and become entrenched in the very fabric of our lives and in the ebb and flo of the tides which dominate our coastline. And in quietly exploring what it means to be as one with this atmospheric landscape, Scottie and Thordis, each have their own deep connection to the wild beauty of the place they need to call home but which, for many reasons, they flounder, and are lost and alone with their thoughts.
The Hollow Sea is a special story which will stay with me for a long time. It's a perfect autumnal afternoon sort of read and I am delighted to make it my Featured Book of the Month for September.
🎂Best read with.. cake with buttercream and candles
Annie Kirby lives on the south coast of England where she works part-time as a university researcher. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and a PhD in American Studies. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and broadcast on national radio and she is a winner of the Asham Award for short fiction. Annie is a graduate of the Penguin WriteNow programme.