The Witch’s Heart

Written by Genevieve Gornichec
Review by Kate Pettigrew

Gods and goddesses are enjoying a popular revival. Genevieve Gornichec has done the same for Angrboda, witch and mother of Norse god Loki’s children. The story opens as Angrboda, who has lived many lifetimes, attracts the attention of Odin, chief of the gods. But she refuses to share all her magical secrets, including her gift of prophecy. Odin ensures she is burnt to death three times and her heart ripped out – but she escapes to a faraway forest.

Loki, god of mischief, appears with her heart in his hands – literally and metaphorically. She initially doesn’t trust Loki but eventually falls for him. He is often an absent husband, and their three children are strange and magical. She is helped by the hunter goddess Skadi. But Angrboda’s quiet life is disrupted with dreams that she fears have a link to Odin. Has he tracked her down?

Gornichec intertwines dramatic and amusing tales of the gods that we might or might not know. The first part of the novel is quiet and slowly paced but speeds up with action and threat as Angrboda realises her children will have a role in the prophesied demise of the gods.