Midwinterblood – Marcus Sedgwick

One of the more random – but nonetheless delightful – book purchases I made recently was Marcus Sedgwick’s Midwinterblood:

“In a novel comprising seven short stories each of them influenced by a moon – flower moon, harvest moon, hunter’s moon, blood moon – and travelling from 2073 back in time to the dark of the moon and the days of Viking saga, this is the story of Eric and Merle who have loved and lost one another and who have been searching for each other ever since. In the different stories the two appear as lovers, mother and son, brother and sister, artist and child as they come close to finding each other before facing the ultimate sacrifice. Beautifully imagined, intricately and cleverly structured this is a heart-wrenching and breathtaking paranormal romance, but it also has the hallmark Sedgwick gothic touch with plenty of blood-spilling, a vampire and sacrifice.”

I’ve read quite a few Sedgwick books, the first being one of his first novels, 2004’s The Book of Dead Days. I’m currently re-reading it because I don’t really remember what happened in it; I just remember that I loved it (hence why I went on to collect another 6 of his books over the next few years).

Midwinterblood was, as I mentioned, purchased on a whim, but it has an intriguing plot. I got a little thrill the first time I recognized the reincarnated versions of Eric and Merle in the second section and every time after that. I thought it was fascinating how he mapped their joint history: there were (vaguely creepy) times when they were related to each other, and other times when they were so-close-yet-so-far.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book was that it was inspired by a real painting (which is described in detail in one of the middle sections): Midvinterblot by Carl Larsson:

I thought the ending was well done though I know that if I had read it 7-10 years ago (around the same time I first discovered Sedgwick), I would have been disappointed. As it is, I thought it was fitting, given Eric and Merle’s tragic history.

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