When a dark family secret is exposed, Sigrun's peaceful life is shattered. Forced to pay for her parents' misdeeds, she finds herself exiled from all she knows - and from the boy she loves - for three long years. Yet more secrets lie ahead; not least the power Sigrun finds awakening in herself, seemingly passed to her from a mysterious amulet. Can she use her new-found gift to save herself and those around her from the dangers they face? And will true love wait until her return?
I connected with the MC Sigrun just as much as her mother Thora and from the opening chapter, where Sigrun riding a runaway and unbroken horse, because I was instantly hoping that the horse would stop before they reached the edge of the cliff. Sigrun feels that she is forever in the shadow of her mother for it is her great sadness that she has not inherited the gift of her mothers visions or her talent as a healer but she is similar to her in more ways than she thinks for she proves her courage and love in her own way. Throughout these doubts about herself, the trials of young love and the challenges of leaving her home to live in a unknown city where everything is strange and unfamiliar to her, I was able to relate to Sigrun really well. This was because of the way Marie Louise Jensen built up a consistent voice for her character that kept me in the heart of the action. Also, I really enjoyed seeing her develop from a naive young girl who has some insecurities in herself into a confident, honourable and thoughtful young women.
One of my favourite aspect of this book was Sigrun's relationship with her childhood friend Ingvar. When her father, brother and Ingvar come back from a year long trip, Ingvar seems changed and Sigrun develops feelings for him that she never knew she possessed. Just as their romance seems to begin blossoming, they are separated from each other and must live with the prospect of not seeing each other for three years-can their love last that long? Their romance was really sweet and it added a lot to my enjoyment of the story. Oh, and did I mention how handsome Ingvar was?
The secondary characters such as Sigrun's parents Bjorn and Thora, her mute friend Maria and Leif, the son of their host Thrang in Jorvik were all well written too and I cared about what happened to them too. I particularly liked finding out what happened to Bjorn and Thora after their struggle to be together in the first book.
As in Daughter Of Fire and Ice, the Icelandic setting was excellently described from the lush bay where Sigrun has grown up to the sights and smells of the bustling city of Jorvik. I found learning a bit of Norse myths and legends and the way of life back then from the slave trade to the different medicines that healers like Sigrun used really interesting.
Verdict: Sigrun's Secret is an adventurous and emotional coming of age story complete with the trials of young love, loyalty and bravery set against the vivid backdrop of Iceland and the Norse city of Jorvik. I loved it because it was excellently written with lots of twists and turns in the plot and a lifelike heroine. I would recommend it to anyone looking for something fresh and new in the YA historical fiction genre. Marie Louise Jensen is one of my favourite authors but she is not very well known at the moment and I hope that will change in the future!
Rating: 5 stars
You do not have to have read Daughter of Fire and Ice to enjoy this sequel but keep in mind that if you like this book, then you will know the ending of DOFAI if you decide to read it after.