Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.
Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.
But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.
This way, Liv would be safe.
This novel was emotionally devastating! Yep I’m dropping that d-bomb right away. I feel it’s my duty to warn you right now that it’s totally going to creep up on you and shake you up by the end of it. Seriously, I didn’t know what I was diving into but this is quite a sensational story.
The very first sentence of the novel was instantly debilitating and I knew there was a captivating but harsh story between these pages to be discovered. The novel was very atmospheric, the remoteness, the isolation from the town and the mainland tangible between the pages. I mistakenly thought this novel was perhaps reminiscent of The Marsh King’s Daughter, a story involving an abhorrent dominant father but I couldn’t be further from the truth. Liv’s father didn’t punish her or used any kind of force and came across as a gentle soul and I forgave him for the lifestyle that he pushes upon his wife and child for quite a while. The author showed me his background, the seed that was planted for his actions in the present and that earned him some understanding. I also knew that even if Jens was doing wrong by keeping his daughter away from other children and by telling her things that weren’t necessarily true just to make it better, his actions were made out of a warped sense of love that made I couldn’t really hate him.
The blurb gave me the illusion that Liv was sort of held captive but she isn’t, at least not literally – she can move around – yet in a way she is because her world is confined and terribly limited, her view on the outside world small and distorted. She tells chapters in her own voice and I came to know her as a brave and resilient girl. My heart went out to her although I never heard her feel sorry for herself or cry. It’s only her brother who cries and the two of them acting together pulled on my heartstrings so hard.. it actually shredded my heart to pieces more than once!
Her father’s ideas and his mental health spiral out of control as the story progresses and there was one particular scene that will play in my mind many times over when thinking of this novel. You’ll certainly know what I’m talking about when you read this novel, it’s a completely non-violent scene but it made my heart thud quite loud. Even though it was quite reverant and written beautifully, it was also disturbing to read at the same time, especially because Liv is a witness to it as well and I felt how emotionally damaging that must have been for the child.
I was aware that the situation Liv was living in wasn’t normal but I felt like I was actually opening my eyes for real when it was presented by another person’s POV in the end. The tragedy really creeps on you and then suddenly it hit me real hard. I felt it in my gut.
You’ll do crazy things out of love and some might seem like the kindest thing to do but sometimes you just have to let people go. The horror of it all is that Jens, Liv’s father, just wants to keep, keep, keep.. A tragic and disturbing novel that you won’t possibly forget!
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.