This week on Tea & Tattle, I’m joined by the award-winning novelist, poet and playwright, Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Kiran has written many bestselling novels for children and young adults, including The Girl of Ink and Stars and The Deathless Girls. I was so excited when Kiran’s debut adult novel, The Mercies, was published at the start of this year.
The Mercies is a gripping historical fiction story inspired by the true events of the 1621 witch trials that took place on a remote Norwegian island called Vardø. The novel begins with a real storm that occurred on Christmas Eve in 1617 and which caused almost all the men of Vardø to be drowned as they were out fishing. Through her book, Kiran imagines the lives of the women of the island in the days following the storm and the events that led to the witch trials a few years later. The Mercies is told through the eyes of two women: Maren, whose father, brother and fiancé, are killed in the storm, and Ursa, a young woman recently married to a man who is summoned to Vardø to discover whether witchcraft operates on the island. As Ursa adjusts to her strange new life, she and Maren become increasingly drawn to each other, but the close knit Vardø community is fracturing around them, with families and alliances torn apart, and suspicions and accusations lead to deadly consequences for many of the island dwellers.
I had a wonderful time chatting to Kiran about how she first stumbled on the idea for The Mercies and the painstaking research she did for the novel
Read the show notes: teaandtattlepodcast.com/home/142
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