“They say a witch used to live in these woods, a long, long time ago…And there, she bore the wolves who chase the sun and moon. They say she went to Asgard and was burned three times upon a pyre and three times she was reborn before she fled. They say she loved a man with scarred lips and a sharp tongue; a man who gave her back her heart and more. They say she loved a woman too, a sword-wielding bride of the Gods; as bold as any man and fiercer still. They say she wandered, giving aid to those who needed it most, healing them with potions and spells. They say she stood her ground against the fires of Ragnarok until the very end until she was burned a final time. All but her heart reduce to ashes once more. But others say she lives yet.”
The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec is a reimagining of Norse mythology’s end of the world, Ragnarok, and how it came to pass. It is told from the viewpoint of Angrboda, one of Loki’s wives. This woman who was a lover, mother, healer, and warrior was lost into the annals of myth in favour of the more famous men in her life…till now!
Angrboda was known for being the mother of three of Loki’s infamous children, but nothing is known about her. Gornichec puts her centre stage as she spins an epic story of love, loss, and destiny.
“There is a difference between understanding and forgiveness. It’s possible to have one without the other.”
Angrboda’s character is woven into a complex individual. Her knowledge of Seid, the power to divine the future, gets her noticed by the All-Father Odin. He demands her power for himself, which she refuses. He punishes her by burning her three times on the pyre, but she escapes by leaving her smouldering heart behind.
Loki finds her heart and offers it back. So starts their journey of love. Loki’s pitiful tries to fit in with the Gods and make mischief lands him in enough trouble. He finds a safe haven with Angrboda and loves her and the children they have together. When this bubble bursts, she’s forced to find herself again and, out of the depths of sorrow, decide between revenge or acceptance.
The book is an adventure. I listened to the Audible version of it, and it is narrated beautifully.
“The ending doesn’t matter. What matters is how we get there. To face what’s ahead with as much dignity as we can muster and make the most of the time we have left.”
It has everything you’d expect from a mythological story: love, intrigue, betrayal, and ultimately redemption.
Note: Some links are part of an affiliate program, which means that if you click on a link and buy something, I might receive a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you.