Title: Fossil Island
Author: Barbara Sjoholm
Where to find Barbara Sjoholm: Website
Print Length: 300 pages
Publisher: Cedar Street Editions
Genre: Historical Fiction
Emilie Hansen, called Nik by her family, is a fourteen-year-old tomboy who spends her time dreaming and collecting fossils. Her older sister, Maj, is studying to be a teacher and starting to entertain ideas of women’s rights introduced by her Swedish friend, Eva Sandström. The summer of 1887 begins with a visit from Aunt Marie, who brings with her from Copenhagen a young man she calls her foster son, Carl Nielsen. Carl has just finished at the Royal Conservatory of Music and plans to become a composer. Flirtation turns to a secret romance between Nik and Carl, as Maj weighs an engagement to Lieutenant Frederik Brandt against her intense friendship with Eva. The following summer brings the sisters’ intertwining stories to a head during a month in Copenhagen with their aunt, where they juggle love, passion and jealousy with their search for independent lives of their own.
This is a delightful book. The flowing narration makes it a joy to read. The characterisation and dialogue are wonderful and the description of the settings are very visual. Although based on real facts the plot lines are intriguing and beguiling. Throughout the novel one gets a deep sense of the trials and tribulations of the restricted lives of women in the late eighteen-hundreds and the desire of many to break out of the mould that society has set around them. The contradictions this sets up within the mind of the main character are very well constructed as is the manner in which she deals with what is the perceived way of doing things and what she would actually like to do. A wonderful book, that I recommend very highly.
The sequel, The Former World, is on my to read list.
What Others Thought
At the time of writing there was one 5* review on Amazon.co.uk. On Amazon.com there were two 5* reviews. On Goodreads.com there were two 3* ratings.
Other books by the same author (Click on the image to go to Amazon for more details)
Other books by the same author, writing as Barbara Wilson
(Click on the image to go to Amazon for more details)