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Women of the Dunes

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From the author of the acclaimed novels The House Between Tides and Beyond the Wild River, a rich, atmospheric tale set on the sea-lashed coast of west Scotland, in which the lives of a ninth-century Norsewoman, a nineteenth-century woman, and a twenty-first-century archeologist weave together after a body is discovered in the dunes. Libby Snow has always felt the pull of U From the author of the acclaimed novels The House Between Tides and Beyond the Wild River, a rich, atmospheric tale set on the sea-lashed coast of west Scotland, in which the lives of a ninth-century Norsewoman, a nineteenth-century woman, and a twenty-first-century archeologist weave together after a body is discovered in the dunes. Libby Snow has always felt the pull of Ullanessm a lush Scottish island enshrouded in myth and deeply important to her family. Her great-great-grandmother Ellen was obsessed with the strange legend of Ulla, a Viking maiden who washed up on shore with the nearly lifeless body of her husband—and who inspired countless epic poems and the island’s name. Central to the mystery is an ornate chalice and Libby, an archaeologist, finally has permission to excavate the site where Ulla is believed to have lived. But what Libby finds in the ancient dunes is a body from the Victorian era, clearly murdered…and potentially connected to Ellen. What unfolds is an epic story that spans centuries, with Libby mining Ellen and Ulla’s stories for clues about the body, and in doing so, discovering the darker threads that bind all three women together across history. Infused with Sarah Maine’s signature “meticulous research and descriptive passages of lush, beautiful landscapes” (Publishers Weekly), Women of the Dunes is a beautifully told and compelling mystery for fans of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams.


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From the author of the acclaimed novels The House Between Tides and Beyond the Wild River, a rich, atmospheric tale set on the sea-lashed coast of west Scotland, in which the lives of a ninth-century Norsewoman, a nineteenth-century woman, and a twenty-first-century archeologist weave together after a body is discovered in the dunes. Libby Snow has always felt the pull of U From the author of the acclaimed novels The House Between Tides and Beyond the Wild River, a rich, atmospheric tale set on the sea-lashed coast of west Scotland, in which the lives of a ninth-century Norsewoman, a nineteenth-century woman, and a twenty-first-century archeologist weave together after a body is discovered in the dunes. Libby Snow has always felt the pull of Ullanessm a lush Scottish island enshrouded in myth and deeply important to her family. Her great-great-grandmother Ellen was obsessed with the strange legend of Ulla, a Viking maiden who washed up on shore with the nearly lifeless body of her husband—and who inspired countless epic poems and the island’s name. Central to the mystery is an ornate chalice and Libby, an archaeologist, finally has permission to excavate the site where Ulla is believed to have lived. But what Libby finds in the ancient dunes is a body from the Victorian era, clearly murdered…and potentially connected to Ellen. What unfolds is an epic story that spans centuries, with Libby mining Ellen and Ulla’s stories for clues about the body, and in doing so, discovering the darker threads that bind all three women together across history. Infused with Sarah Maine’s signature “meticulous research and descriptive passages of lush, beautiful landscapes” (Publishers Weekly), Women of the Dunes is a beautifully told and compelling mystery for fans of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams.

30 review for Women of the Dunes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    4 fascinating Scottish stars to Women of the Dunes! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 The description of this book captivated me. My alter ego in college enjoyed archaeological digs, so I’m up for anything with an excavation, multiple timelines, and history. Women of the Dunes is told in three timelines, including a Norsewoman in the 9th century, a 19th century woman, and a contemporary archaeologist, Libby. A Scottish island, Ullanessm, draws people to it with its ancient stories and myths, including the main characters 4 fascinating Scottish stars to Women of the Dunes! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 The description of this book captivated me. My alter ego in college enjoyed archaeological digs, so I’m up for anything with an excavation, multiple timelines, and history. Women of the Dunes is told in three timelines, including a Norsewoman in the 9th century, a 19th century woman, and a contemporary archaeologist, Libby. A Scottish island, Ullanessm, draws people to it with its ancient stories and myths, including the main characters. How the three timelines intersect is natural and fulfilling. The author has clearly done impeccable research, and her own background in archaeology shows. In the end, this is an interesting tale of betrayal, murder, love, and redemption, shrouded in a cozy, easy-to-read, comforting historical mystery. Thank you to Sarah Maines, Atria Books, and Netgalley for the copy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kendall

    Women of the Dunes is a beautifully written historical tale about treasures, mysteries, murder, and even a little bit of a romance. The story is told in three alternating viewpoints which includes a Norsewoman in the 9th century, a 19th century woman, and Libby who is an archaeologist. The story slowly but beautifully connects the three timelines together. The author effortlessly builds upon her research and experience in this historical tale which heightens the story even more. And.. let me just Women of the Dunes is a beautifully written historical tale about treasures, mysteries, murder, and even a little bit of a romance. The story is told in three alternating viewpoints which includes a Norsewoman in the 9th century, a 19th century woman, and Libby who is an archaeologist. The story slowly but beautifully connects the three timelines together. The author effortlessly builds upon her research and experience in this historical tale which heightens the story even more. And.. let me just say how much I want to go to Scotland now! The metaphors and visualization in this novel is amazing! In all.... this was an enjoyable read with a cozy mystery at it's finest! I read this in a day... so that must tell you something ;). 3.5 stars rounded up. Thank you so much to Netgalley and Atria for the advanced arc in exchange for a honest review. Published to GR: 7/17/18 Publication date: 7/24/18

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Scotland, back and forth in time, murders, illegitimate children, missing jewels, secrets, buried treasures, legends, a permitted excavation, authentic characters, and an old estate all greet us in WOMEN OF THE DUNES. We follow Libby as she and her university team have gotten permission to excavate the estate of Hector Sturrock and an estate where Libby's great grandmother worked as a servant. Libby's grandmother told her of the legend of Ulla that was part of the estate and the town of Ullaness. Scotland, back and forth in time, murders, illegitimate children, missing jewels, secrets, buried treasures, legends, a permitted excavation, authentic characters, and an old estate all greet us in WOMEN OF THE DUNES. We follow Libby as she and her university team have gotten permission to excavate the estate of Hector Sturrock and an estate where Libby's great grandmother worked as a servant. Libby's grandmother told her of the legend of Ulla that was part of the estate and the town of Ullaness. Libby had always enjoyed the legend and liked to hear it every time she visited her grandmother. When Libby joined the team for the excavation, she had to decide if she would tell what her grandmother had told her and what her great grandmother had kept from the estate. The legend began with a ship coming into a harbor where a monk named Odrhan lived. Ulla was pregnant with her husband’s brother’s child, but when the husband found out about the baby, he badly hurt his brother, Harald, so Ulla sailed away with the injured Harald and sailed to Odrhan for help. As generations continued so did the legend and its people. The most interesting aspect was that Libby was the current generation of the women involved, and there were many secrets kept by them all. 
 WOMEN OF THE DUNES was captivating simply because of the lifestyle of the original family as well as those who lived in the Sturrock estate today. The women of all generations had stories to tell, the estate’s castle-like home still kept its charm, and the legend made WOMEN OF THE DUNES enticing. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the land and the house. Going back in time and hearing a story re-created is something I always love to read about. The two stories - present and past - connected, came full circle, and brilliantly meshed together as mirrored stories. Any reader who enjoys castles, secrets, looking for clues in old documents, and re-tracing the steps of characters that lived long ago will want to read WOMEN OF THE DUNES. WOMEN OF THE DUNES is going to be a favorite. 5/5 This book was given to be as an ARC by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    The first book I read by Sarah Maine was THE HOUSE BETWEEN TIDES and I was blown away by the wonderful story and the atmospheric setting. I was eager to find out if WOMEN OF THE DUNES would be as good. And it was! To be able to effortlessly write a book with three different storylines without confusing or making any of the storylines less interesting than the others is a gift and I think that Sarah Maine has this gift. I'm so used to dual storylines that getting one with three storylines feels li The first book I read by Sarah Maine was THE HOUSE BETWEEN TIDES and I was blown away by the wonderful story and the atmospheric setting. I was eager to find out if WOMEN OF THE DUNES would be as good. And it was! To be able to effortlessly write a book with three different storylines without confusing or making any of the storylines less interesting than the others is a gift and I think that Sarah Maine has this gift. I'm so used to dual storylines that getting one with three storylines feels like an oddity, in a good way. READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    This book has 3 big POVS, even if Libby is the main one. Libby comes to Scotland for a dig. But her great grandmother was from there and she knows the legend they are to uncover. Then there is Ellen in 1890, a servant at the big house. She loves the old legend. And the question is, why did she leave for Canada? What happened back the? Ellen had her head in the clouds. I get that she was pretty, but everyone sure went crazy for her. Also, she was not alone with her POV, the priest Oliver has a POV This book has 3 big POVS, even if Libby is the main one. Libby comes to Scotland for a dig. But her great grandmother was from there and she knows the legend they are to uncover. Then there is Ellen in 1890, a servant at the big house. She loves the old legend. And the question is, why did she leave for Canada? What happened back the? Ellen had her head in the clouds. I get that she was pretty, but everyone sure went crazy for her. Also, she was not alone with her POV, the priest Oliver has a POV here too. Which brings us to Ulla, who comes with her dying lover to this part of Scotland that will have her name. Fleeing from her husband and meeting a monk, but, it was not Ulla who had this POV. It was Oran the monk who was fine living there as a hermit before vikings comes and mess things up. Oran was so! Well you can imagine, but he was a man of his time. I did wonder about Ulla and her thoughts, but we never got those. Oh and how on earth could they speak with each other? A dig. And uncovering what happened to her ancestor. Libby has a lot before her. And she also becomes embroiled with those who own the land. Oh he was hard to get to know, but I liked him. You will see. A lovely book set in different times and connected to each other. In more than one way. Narrator Ruth Urqhart I really like her voice and she was perfect for this.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    Well, I was quite curious about this one. Love the name and the cover. It's a bit slowed pace for me,but I enjoyed reading it. It's narrated through 3 different times. But I didn't really understand why sometimes in same chapter it showed to times. I didn't fell right, I read 2 similar books in terms of construction this year and I kind of compared them unconsciously I suppose. It's a mystery. You don't understand if there's a slow burn romance going on or just some complicity happening. It's strang Well, I was quite curious about this one. Love the name and the cover. It's a bit slowed pace for me,but I enjoyed reading it. It's narrated through 3 different times. But I didn't really understand why sometimes in same chapter it showed to times. I didn't fell right, I read 2 similar books in terms of construction this year and I kind of compared them unconsciously I suppose. It's a mystery. You don't understand if there's a slow burn romance going on or just some complicity happening. It's strange.  Sure, it is a historical novel, with what seems to be a repeating pattern. To me it was okay, although it has potential.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Thanks to Netgalley for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review Well, I was quite excited to receive this story after being refused a copy of Sarah Maine's earlier book, The House Between Tides. Whoever designs the covers for Maine's books should know they are stunning and suit her stories well. However I am feeling(surprisingly) lukewarm over my reading experience. The writing is strong, the multi narrative, an intriguing story, but the pace was slow and the pagan story was probably the most Thanks to Netgalley for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review Well, I was quite excited to receive this story after being refused a copy of Sarah Maine's earlier book, The House Between Tides. Whoever designs the covers for Maine's books should know they are stunning and suit her stories well. However I am feeling(surprisingly) lukewarm over my reading experience. The writing is strong, the multi narrative, an intriguing story, but the pace was slow and the pagan story was probably the most fascinating and yet often played second fiddle to the contemporary storyline and that of 1890 which didn't always hold my full attention. Maybe it is me, the heat, or my itchy bug bites, but this was a real hit and miss.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tami

    I wish I had read this about a month earlier during the time I was visiting Scotland because it would have made a wonderful story even better! Sarah Maine has written an engrossing tale of an old Scottish myth, complete with a dig for buried treasure, a budding romance, murder and mystery. The story centers around Libby Snow, a young archaeologist who becomes involved in an excavation on a Scottish island that also has a connection to her own family history. The story is told in the form of three I wish I had read this about a month earlier during the time I was visiting Scotland because it would have made a wonderful story even better! Sarah Maine has written an engrossing tale of an old Scottish myth, complete with a dig for buried treasure, a budding romance, murder and mystery. The story centers around Libby Snow, a young archaeologist who becomes involved in an excavation on a Scottish island that also has a connection to her own family history. The story is told in the form of three different time periods, slowly weaving the ancient legend together and revealing the truth about the past. I looked forward to reading this each day and it is definitely one of my favorite reads this year. It had everything to offer that I love about historical fiction. Mystery and history lovers will enjoy this as well. Many thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for allowing me to read an advance copy and give an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Guylou

    I would like to thank NetGalley and Atria Book for providing me an ARC of Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine in exchange for an honest review. The story goes back and forth between three timelines which described the lives of three women. The first timeline is about a Norsewoman in the ninth century named Ulla who escaped her evil Viking husband with her lover and sailed to Scotland. There, Ulla meets a monk upon her arrival and asks him to help to save her lover who was seriously wounded. Her lov I would like to thank NetGalley and Atria Book for providing me an ARC of Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine in exchange for an honest review. The story goes back and forth between three timelines which described the lives of three women. The first timeline is about a Norsewoman in the ninth century named Ulla who escaped her evil Viking husband with her lover and sailed to Scotland. There, Ulla meets a monk upon her arrival and asks him to help to save her lover who was seriously wounded. Her lover dies, but a legend is birthed. The second timeline is about a Scottish servant woman in the nineteenth century named Ellen who lived on the estate where the legend of Ulla was born. Ellen is obsessed with Ulla’s story. She ends up leaving Scotland and moving to Newfoundland, but never forgot the legend and passed it on to her daughter who passed it on to her grand-daughter, Libby. The last timeline is about Libby, a young archeologist in the twenty-first century. Libby finds the perfect job; she is hired as a lead archeologist on a project which will take place in the birthplace of her grandmother. The project is to dig a mound where, it is believed, Ulla’s lover was buried. In preparation for the dig, Libby visits the site and discovers that the mound hides many secrets which could change everything she heard about the legend. This is a fantastic read. The book has all the elements of a great story: love, betrayal, murder, and forgiveness. This book will be available at your favorite bookstore on July 24, 2018.

  10. 4 out of 5

    marlin1

    Surrounded by the legend of Ulla as childhood stories told by her grandmother, Libby Snow gets the chance to work on an archaeological dig at the very place where these stories took place – Ullaness. She doesn’t tell anyone of her connection, especially as her great grandmother Ellen was a servant at Sturrock House in 1890 or of the strange necklace she has in her possession. Finding a body is something that was anticipated, just not the Victorian age one that was discovered. And what was the co Surrounded by the legend of Ulla as childhood stories told by her grandmother, Libby Snow gets the chance to work on an archaeological dig at the very place where these stories took place – Ullaness. She doesn’t tell anyone of her connection, especially as her great grandmother Ellen was a servant at Sturrock House in 1890 or of the strange necklace she has in her possession. Finding a body is something that was anticipated, just not the Victorian age one that was discovered. And what was the connection of the same necklace that is in Libby’s possession, as to the one that was discovered with the body. This multi layered novel was a delight. Covering the three women, Ulla C800 AD – just small paragraphs inserted in the story, Ellen in 1890 and the modern day Libby I was transported into each story, although I did connect with Libby’s story the most. I loved the slow relationship growth there was between Libby and Rodri Sturrock as they work together and the side story of Laila, the manipulative sister in law to Rodri. This was a story to get lost in and I’m only sad that due to real life, I couldn’t spend a day or two lost in it. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for a digital ARC to read

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and the author for a free advanced copy. *3 stars rounded up to 4* When I am reading a synopsis of a book and I come across the word Scotland, I don’t have to read any further. Scotland is my absolute favorite location for a book. “Women of the Dunes” is a charming story that tells the legends of two women and the story of our modern day archeologist Libby. There are three time lines at play here, a bit much but not confusing. The setting was absolutely beauti Thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and the author for a free advanced copy. *3 ½ stars rounded up to 4* When I am reading a synopsis of a book and I come across the word Scotland, I don’t have to read any further. Scotland is my absolute favorite location for a book. “Women of the Dunes” is a charming story that tells the legends of two women and the story of our modern day archeologist Libby. There are three time lines at play here, a bit much but not confusing. The setting was absolutely beautiful, and you throw in a few Viking men, a beautiful Norseman woman, pagans, Victorian age Christians and their young maid, a modern day brooding Scotsman and you definitely have a recipe of romantic proportions. I have to admit, I did not go into this book thinking romance would play this big of a part; I enjoyed it none the less. Once I got passed the slow start I adored all the characters. Except Libby, she was a little flat for me. For a modern day educated woman she was a tab bit slow for my liking. This was my first read from this author but I can honestly say it will not be my last. I would recommend this book for lovers of this genre.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hannelore Cheney

    Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for the eARC. Such a lovely story, I absolutely loved this book. Three women are connected through three timelines: Ulla, Ellen and Libby. In the present, Libby is preparing for a dig in Western Scotland, after having spent much of her childhood staying with family in Newfoundland listening to stories of Ulla, the Norsewoman who arrived in Scotland after escaping her brutal husband with his brother, her lover. Generations later, Ellen escapes Scotland to start a Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for the eARC. Such a lovely story, I absolutely loved this book. Three women are connected through three timelines: Ulla, Ellen and Libby. In the present, Libby is preparing for a dig in Western Scotland, after having spent much of her childhood staying with family in Newfoundland listening to stories of Ulla, the Norsewoman who arrived in Scotland after escaping her brutal husband with his brother, her lover. Generations later, Ellen escapes Scotland to start a new life in Newfoundland. Libby, fascinated by the myth of Ulla, is ecstatic to be able to make her dream come true: digging into the past, hopefully learning more about Ulla and her own ancestors. The three storylines were lovingly told and easy to follow, and each was fascinating, really absorbing and it was hard for me to put the book down ... I didn't want the book to end. Great atmosphere too, it reminded me a bit of books by the great Daphne du Maurier. Fantastic read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sharlene

    A beautifully told and intriguing mystery about two generations of Scottish women united by blood, an obsession with the past, and a long-hidden body, from the author of The House Between Tides. This is truly one of the best books I have read this year. It has everything you need for a great story; suspense, great location, fabulous characters and a mystery that kept me guessing right up to the end of the book. If you enjoy the books of Susanna Kearsley or Kate Morton, you will enjoy this one A def A beautifully told and intriguing mystery about two generations of Scottish women united by blood, an obsession with the past, and a long-hidden body, from the author of The House Between Tides. This is truly one of the best books I have read this year. It has everything you need for a great story; suspense, great location, fabulous characters and a mystery that kept me guessing right up to the end of the book. If you enjoy the books of Susanna Kearsley or Kate Morton, you will enjoy this one A definite "could not put this one down" read. 5 stars all the way.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    I received a copy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I love any book that has to do with Scotland and this is no exception. We follow three women of different centuries, and experience the love, heartbreak, and all other manners of turmoil. It is a bit hard trying to keep up with all three stories but it was well worth it to me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angie Atkins

    3.5 Stars. I feel like the book was slow moving at first. I enjoyed reading the points of view from the characters of the past and wanted more of that. Overall, it held my interest and really picked up 3/4 of the way in.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dorine

    Excellent historical mystery mixed with modern day archaeology. Full review to come.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    This book had me hooked by the second chapter . The author entwines the stories of three different women of different times and how they are all entwined together . Let me take you to Scotland where the lives of Ulla , Ellen and Libby come together . The characters are well written and complex. The author has written some very strong women . Ulla a 18th century Norse woman . She has escaped her abusive husband with his brother . Which starts all of this intrigue . She is left on the shore with This book had me hooked by the second chapter . The author entwines the stories of three different women of different times and how they are all entwined together . Let me take you to Scotland where the lives of Ulla , Ellen and Libby come together . The characters are well written and complex. The author has written some very strong women . Ulla a 18th century Norse woman . She has escaped her abusive husband with his brother . Which starts all of this intrigue . She is left on the shore with a dying man and the priest who actually holds her life in his hands . She is such a good character . I just wish the author would of brought her out just a little bit more . She would of been a great character to get to know. From what we get from her she is so distraught over the death of her love . There is such a darkness around her at some points in the story . Ellen is the second character entwined with Libby and Ulla. She is a maid at the Sturrock mansion and is torn between two men . She is in love with Alick , the sweet younger brother who likes to talk and be around Ellen . And then there is Mungo the older brother who in my opinion is a very abusive man . Ellen to me seems just a little naïve most of the time . She is scared and also trying to keep a roof over her sick mothers head . We do see her have a bit of a back bone towards the end of the book and there is actually more to Ellen then the author lets on at first. Now Libby is the linch pin that pulls the other two characters together . She is an archeologist and knows all the stories behind Ulla and her past . When she starts to figure things out you see Libby become a really strong woman and she takes on those that want to destroy the happiness that she has found at the Sturrock house. There is so much going on with each of these woman you just can't stop reading . The author takes us on an adventure with twists and turns . I started this book in the evening and I honestly couldn't put it down . The characters are really complex and you just want to see how they all fit together . I loved the mystery and the intrigue . There are three voices in the book but they all blend together. The only thing I have to say is it did kind of lag in a few spots . Over all I truly enjoyed this book and the characters . This is the first book I have read by this author and I truly love her writing style . You don't get confused with each character and you actually start to care for each character. So when this book comes out I would say put it on your summer reading list . You will be sucked into the story and the scenery and love of Scotland .

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    It isn’t often that I finish a book and immediately look to see if I own any others by that author so that I can start reading another. “Women of the Dunes” by Sarah Maine was that good! Betrayal, murder, romance, archaeology, myth, handsome Scottish men… this one has it all! The author laces together a story of different generations with three alternating time lines. Set in Ullanessm, an island off the western coast of Scotland, Libby Snow arrives to excavate the site of Scottish legend Ulla in It isn’t often that I finish a book and immediately look to see if I own any others by that author so that I can start reading another. “Women of the Dunes” by Sarah Maine was that good! Betrayal, murder, romance, archaeology, myth, handsome Scottish men… this one has it all! The author laces together a story of different generations with three alternating time lines. Set in Ullanessm, an island off the western coast of Scotland, Libby Snow arrives to excavate the site of Scottish legend Ulla in an attempt to find burial sites and artifacts. Ulla is a Viking who arrived with her lover, several warriors and treasure centuries ago. The travelers are met by a monk who tries to save the lover’s life but fails. Several legends and poems are written about them and they even inspire the name of the island. Libby has long had the desire to visit Ullanessm after hearing stories of her great-great-grandmother, Ellen, who previously lived and worked on the island. However, shortly after arriving, Libby discovers a body… an unexpected body that cannot be connected to the legend since it is clearly much more recent. She then meets the handsome caretaker of Sturrock House, Rodri, who seems to be hiding some secrets of his own. What happened to Ulla, her lover, the monk and the treasure? What will Libby find? What is the identity of the latest body? Lots of questions that the author fully answered. Such a great story that was perfectly written. The three story lines were expertly woven together to complete the picture of all three generations. Her writing made me feel as if I was there on Ulanessm. A great book with an excellent ending that would be a perfect vacation/beach read. Oh, by the way, “The House Between Tides” is next; I’ll let you know. Publication Date: July 24, 2018 Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Suspense Cover: Perfect and beautiful! Rating: 5 stars Source: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity to read this great book! #NetGalley #WomenOfTheDunes #SarahMaine

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ericka Seidemann

    I love a mysterious story set in Scotland! This is the perfect book for those who enjoy Kate Morton and Susanna Kearsley. This novel is structured with interconnected stories spanning three generations of women: one from the 9th century, one from 19th century, and one in present day. Ullaness, Scotland, an island on the western coast, is named for the legend of Ulla, a woman who escaped her cruel husband with her lover and remained there with a monk until she died in childbirth. The question sti I love a mysterious story set in Scotland! This is the perfect book for those who enjoy Kate Morton and Susanna Kearsley. This novel is structured with interconnected stories spanning three generations of women: one from the 9th century, one from 19th century, and one in present day. Ullaness, Scotland, an island on the western coast, is named for the legend of Ulla, a woman who escaped her cruel husband with her lover and remained there with a monk until she died in childbirth. The question still remains, who was the father ─ Ulla’s husband, lover, or the monk? Libby Snow, archaeologist, has arrived in Ullaness to excavate near the Sturrock estate, hoping to find clues to the legend of Ulla. An unexpected discovery of a body in the dunes dating to the 19th century raises more questions, and deepens the mysterious connection between Libby, her ancestor Ellen who lived in Ullaness in the 1800s, and the legend of Ulla. This novel is a tangled story of lovers and daring escapes. There is passion, betrayal, and sacrifice. It was a fascinating puzzle that pieces together with Libby’s discoveries and her relationship to the present-day owners of the Sturrock estate. A very enjoyable read that I tore through in a few days. Many thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for the copy in exchange for my review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    In modern Scotland, 1890s Scotland, and ancient Scotland runs the legend of Ulla and the men who play a part in her life. The legend is somewhat mirrored in 1890 and in modern times Libby Snow has come to excavate and track down her own history. Short of a bagpiper or man running around in a kilt, this book had something for everyone: mystery, romance, history, friendship, etc. I wouldn't have minded a kilted rogue! (In case you were wondering.) With three timelines, sometimes you forgot where y In modern Scotland, 1890s Scotland, and ancient Scotland runs the legend of Ulla and the men who play a part in her life. The legend is somewhat mirrored in 1890 and in modern times Libby Snow has come to excavate and track down her own history. Short of a bagpiper or man running around in a kilt, this book had something for everyone: mystery, romance, history, friendship, etc. I wouldn't have minded a kilted rogue! (In case you were wondering.) With three timelines, sometimes you forgot where you were on one of them when you switched to a different one. It also made for a lot of moving parts and characters. As I usually find with multiple timelines, one interests me more than the others. Sadly, in this case I didn't care for the story of Ulla, which was the basis for the whole story. Otherwise I found the book enchanting, a bit predictable, but lovely none the less. A copy of this book was provided by NetGalley and Atria Books in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Libby Snow has always wanted to visit Ullaness, a rugged island on the west coast of Scotland. Not only does the island at the center of Women of the Dunes, by Sarah Maine, have a beloved legend, she also has a mysterious family connection that she longs to get to the bottom of. She finally gets her wish when she and her boss get permission to lead a small team in an even smaller archaeological job on Ullaness. For some reason the ranking family on the island won’t let them do much and it appear Libby Snow has always wanted to visit Ullaness, a rugged island on the west coast of Scotland. Not only does the island at the center of Women of the Dunes, by Sarah Maine, have a beloved legend, she also has a mysterious family connection that she longs to get to the bottom of. She finally gets her wish when she and her boss get permission to lead a small team in an even smaller archaeological job on Ullaness. For some reason the ranking family on the island won’t let them do much and it appears that Snow is not the only one with buried secrets... Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    I absolutely loved this book. Told by several people in different centuries, with different talks and themes. The settings are wonderful - Newfoundland and Scotland. Norsemen, Pagans, Christians, Archeologists are interwoven in the overlapping stories. I love the idea of connections - both familial and friendships. We have two main characters that are intent on solving the centuries old mystery(ies), an arrogant professor, a conniving sister in law, 3 different sets of warring brothers. It is a I absolutely loved this book. Told by several people in different centuries, with different talks and themes. The settings are wonderful - Newfoundland and Scotland. Norsemen, Pagans, Christians, Archeologists are interwoven in the overlapping stories. I love the idea of connections - both familial and friendships. We have two main characters that are intent on solving the centuries old mystery(ies), an arrogant professor, a conniving sister in law, 3 different sets of warring brothers. It is a beautiful story and the conclusion was a satisfying ending. I felt as if l were actually on the dig with Libby. How important for her to see this mystery through. I can't recommend this book enough. *I would like to thank the author/publisher/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review*

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is a beautifully written novel that tells the tales of three women (and several men not mentioned in the title) in a tiny Scottish town in three vastly different time periods. It's fascinating how the lives of the characters living in each time period are connected to one another, and how their lives coincide and differ. After a bit of a slow start, this book quickly picked up steam and kept me enthralled until the very end. The quiet, isolated, coastal Scottish setting is at times beautifu This is a beautifully written novel that tells the tales of three women (and several men not mentioned in the title) in a tiny Scottish town in three vastly different time periods. It's fascinating how the lives of the characters living in each time period are connected to one another, and how their lives coincide and differ. After a bit of a slow start, this book quickly picked up steam and kept me enthralled until the very end. The quiet, isolated, coastal Scottish setting is at times beautiful and romantic, and at others, lonely. All in all, an enjoyable read that I may read again at some point. I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    There are three timelines at play here, set in memorable Western Scotland. The descriptions of coastal Scotland brought back warm memories of wet sheep, pounding waves, noisy seabirds, and the comfort found in a cup of tea on a rainy day. I found Libby's character a bit flat, and easily bowled over by the other characters in the modern timeline. It seemed a bit of a recurring theme with Ellen and Ulla. I've not read Maine's other work so this may be her style. I received a complimentary copy of There are three timelines at play here, set in memorable Western Scotland. The descriptions of coastal Scotland brought back warm memories of wet sheep, pounding waves, noisy seabirds, and the comfort found in a cup of tea on a rainy day. I found Libby's character a bit flat, and easily bowled over by the other characters in the modern timeline. It seemed a bit of a recurring theme with Ellen and Ulla. I've not read Maine's other work so this may be her style. I received a complimentary copy of this book through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tracett

    An archeological dig at a coastal mansion in Scotland? Perfect. Brooding and slightly broken groundskeeper? Yummy. Multiple time settings and family mysteries to figure out? Fun. But too bad our modern day heroine is a bit dim. At every turn of affairs she wonders what is happening, while you the reader, can see perfectly well where the story is going. Still, the setting is wonderful and the three time periods mesh well together making for an enjoyable, if not thrilling read. Sometime you just n An archeological dig at a coastal mansion in Scotland? Perfect. Brooding and slightly broken groundskeeper? Yummy. Multiple time settings and family mysteries to figure out? Fun. But too bad our modern day heroine is a bit dim. At every turn of affairs she wonders what is happening, while you the reader, can see perfectly well where the story is going. Still, the setting is wonderful and the three time periods mesh well together making for an enjoyable, if not thrilling read. Sometime you just need a non-challenging read, a cup of tea and a plate of cookies.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Judi

    Women of the Dunes intertwines the stories of three women on the west coast of Scotland. There is the legend of Ulla, a ninth century Norsewoman fleeing her abusive husband. She lands on the coast with a dying lover and is greeted by a priest. Libby is part of an archeological team who is going to excavate a mound on the Sturrock estate. When they discover a Victorian corpse, she wonders if there is a connection to her great-great grandmother, Ellen, who had been a maid at the Sturrock estate an Women of the Dunes intertwines the stories of three women on the west coast of Scotland. There is the legend of Ulla, a ninth century Norsewoman fleeing her abusive husband. She lands on the coast with a dying lover and is greeted by a priest. Libby is part of an archeological team who is going to excavate a mound on the Sturrock estate. When they discover a Victorian corpse, she wonders if there is a connection to her great-great grandmother, Ellen, who had been a maid at the Sturrock estate and who emigrated to Newfoundland.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I really enjoyed this story, which focuses on a modern-day archaeologist’s connection to an ancient legend on the western coast of Scotland. More character depth could have been achieved — the players have complex lives that could have benefited from closer writing. Overall a great story for those who enjoy historical fiction.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Stansel

    A story that spans the lives of 3 groups of people in a small Scottish town. The mystery and folk lore are intertwined and begin to become uncovered by Libby Snow who us, jerself, part of that history. A good mix of folk tale and mystery, Really enjoyable. Full disclosure - I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mina De Caro (Mina's Bookshelf)

    This book went as fast as freshly baked short cake and tea on a chilly afternoon in the Scottish highlands, a place where "the wind never ceases, the sun never shines, and where the past won't let you go...". An ingenious trifold mystery plot and an enchanting setting...perfect for lovers of all-things Scottish and fans of historical fiction ever so slightly infused with romance.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Beautifully wrought, fascinating mystery spanning centuries in Scotland. I enjoyed the different viewpoints and the descriptive language. I’m a sucker for a good mystery and this one was gripping from the get-go!

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