Friday, 8 April 2016

Review: The Well of the North Wind

I am finally back to reading after a busy few months and was very lucky to be sent a copy of "The Well of the North Wind" by Kenneth Steven for review*

Kenneth Steven is a Scottish poet, author and illustrator responsible for works such as IslandIonaMaking the Known World NewSalt and LightColumbaImagining ThingsWild HorsesThe Missing Days and Evensong. His children’s book The Dog’s Nose (published in Norwegian, English and French) went on to win the Norwegian Government’s Award for Picture Books. Kenneth promotes creativity within primary and secondary schools, and teaches courses to adult writers’ groups.

Set in fifth century Ireland, this lyrically timeless story tells of five-year-old Fian who finds solace from a difficult home life by drawing patterns in the sand. His gift takes him to Iona, where he becomes the ‘fourth hand’ on The Book of Kells, that great treasure of the Celts. Drawn into a community of laughter and stories, Fian encounters blue-eyed Mara, a girl who bears a terrible secret and, like Fian, lives her life between both desolation and joy. A charming novel brimming with beauty and heart, The Well of the North Wind explores doubt, faith and the brokenness of spirit that finally releases us into love.

The Well of the North Wind

This isn't a book I would normally pick up, I tend to move more towards "chick-lit", although it is a novel it does feel like a biographical piece but I did really enjoy it and was instantly engaged with it. Because it's quite short and action packed you really get a lot from within the pages. 

The blurb stated that the book is an exploration of doubt and faith and I was so surprised to find amazing inspiration as I read, something I haven't experienced in a novel since I read 'The Shack'. 

The Well of the North Wind

My only criticism is that there were quite a few characters (lots of monks) and they seemed to have the same names, occasionally I got lost as to who was who, however, I would add I'm a bit of a skim reader, so as long as you have a better attention span than me , you'll be fine. 

 The main character, Colum, was easy to relate to.  It was refreshing to know that, even in the Fifth Century, there were moments of doubt, sadness and confusion but also of love, joy and pride at our own accomplishments. 

Not only was inspired spiritually but I learnt about the Book of Kells - something completely new to be despite being a strong historical factor within Christianity. I don't read a lot of books that inspire, educate and entertain me. 

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this novel and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a bit of light reading but also hoping to find some spiritual inspiration. 

The Well of the North Wind is available to buy now from SPCK

*Thank you to SPCK for sending me a free copy of The Well of the North Wind in exchange for an honest review. 

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