Monday, May 1, 2017

Daughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia Carosella | A Book Review

Daughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia Carosella | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm

It took me a while to finish this not because the story was uninteresting, on the contrary I was so hooked. We went out of town because a friend died and we attended the burial. After which, we decided to get on an hour boat ride to another island known for white sugar-like sand beaches for a post and advance all-in-one celebration of my nephew and niece's April birthdays. I was busy catching up with relatives and friends that I never had time to read.

I got Daughter of a Thousand Years from Netgalley. I realized that Netgalley features a wide genre and a variety of authors that I get to read really interesting stories that really capture my heart. Most of the stories I signed up are historical fiction and done by authors which I have never meet and heard before. This book is a definite example and the story is centered on the life of Freydis. A bastard daughter of Erik the Red. Freydis may or may not actually exist in the history of the Norse but may just be a character created by historians to contrast the character of Gudrid -- a Christian-convert, a dedicated mother, a devoted wife and a loyal friend.

The story is not pure historical fiction. The story starts with a chapter on Freydis and then the next one introduces the other main character which is Emma, born a thousand years after. Emma is a current professor of history who teaches about Charlemagne and Vinland sagas. The chapters switch between Freydis and Emma, from past to present

Freydis and Emma represent a lot of modern empowered women. Strong and stubborn women who want to excel and explore. Women who value their freedom to express themselves and reach for their dreams. Women who wanted to be their own persons. Women who are striving hard for equality and against any form of discrimination, whether it is in religion, race, culture and career advancement. Women who can actually rule the world if they want to.

One thing I learned from this story is there is actually a religion called Asatru which is a pagan belief based on the Norse Gods like Thor, Odin, Freya, etc. This is an eye-opener. I thought this was history but amazingly it is still alive today. As alive as Hinduism, Buddhism and other non-Christian beliefs. As the story suggests, religion is a relationship between a person and his/her god. And like all Christian religions, some of these pagan religions like Asatru believed in the same values as that of Christianity. Values such as community, respect and honesty. I think, it doesn't really matter whether you pray to a god or not, as long as you live your life with integrity, respect for people and life, with compassion and not stepping on anyone's toes just to get ahead is what's important. I know of people who claim to be pious Catholics or Christians who go to church almost everyday yet does not act or think like one. I think religion is only as good as you are willing to practice it in real actions. Walk the talk. Not the holier-than-thou but a living example of fairness, humility, respect and kindness to everyone, including those who don't deserve it.

I give the book 5/5 Mjolnir (pronounced: myawl-nir, literally means to smash) necklaces or Thor's hammer. This book talks about a very sensitive topic which often leads to debate. Religion-- differences in this belief often lead to misunderstandings and even break apart families because it is implied that you should stand for your belief. It is imperative that you should be able to defend your religion against any detractors. Just like in the story, wife against husband, siblings against siblings, friends against friends, parents against children. Sometimes, others use religion to drive people to guilt. To alienate people because they did not agree with you. Sometimes, it's even used to push personal motives, agendas, causes, selfish desires and whatever you call it. How many people claim that their religion is better than the others? Justifying actions in the name of religion. But the real question is--have we become better people, citizens, neighbors, parents and children because of religion? In the end, it all lies in the individual. It's how s/he lives his/her life. Did you act with kindness or did you just turn a blind eye to the sufferings of others?

In this day and age, religion should not be an issue anymore. Everyone should be open-minded and accept that we live in a very diverse world. Our diversity makes the world even more a wonderful place. I recommend that everyone should read this book. It will put some things into perspective, especially about religion.

Best friends always brought the tough love, even if sometimes it fell a little on the misguided side.
- Amalia Carosella, Daughter of a Thousand Years -