Women of the Dunes

Women of the Dunes

From the author of the acclaimed novels The House Between Tides and Beyond the Wild River, a rich, atmospheric tale set on the sea-lashed coast of west Scotland, in which the lives of a ninth-century Norsewoman, a nineteenth-century woman, and a twenty-first-century archeologist weave together after a body is discovered in the dunes.Libby Snow has always felt the pull of U...

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Title:Women of the Dunes
Author:Sarah Maine
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Women of the Dunes Reviews

  • Dorine

    Her most engaging novel so far, WOMEN OF THE DUNES by Sarah Maine toys with the reader, teasing us with mysterious tidbits until the final page.

    Libby Snow’s family history is entrenched in folklore, told over and over through the generations. As an archaeologist, she jumps at the chance to assist with a dig in Scotland where her family’s history supposedly took place.

    Rodri Sturrock lives at Sturrock House, acting as his brother Hector’s agent regarding the upcoming excavation. He’s adamant about

    Her most engaging novel so far, WOMEN OF THE DUNES by Sarah Maine toys with the reader, teasing us with mysterious tidbits until the final page.

    Libby Snow’s family history is entrenched in folklore, told over and over through the generations. As an archaeologist, she jumps at the chance to assist with a dig in Scotland where her family’s history supposedly took place.

    Rodri Sturrock lives at Sturrock House, acting as his brother Hector’s agent regarding the upcoming excavation. He’s adamant about what they will and will not allow, even though Libby seems to soften his rough edges every time they meet.

    Sarah Maine’s talent becomes more evident with every book. It’s strange, but I feel a rhythm in her style. It’s balanced like music, sing-song-like, flowing through my head artistically. She paints beautiful landscapes with her words, making the seashore dunes come alive.

    The mystery builds with captivating gradations. It made me anxious and hopeful that Libby would find the truth to her family’s history. Would it be wonderful, or were they just a pack of thieves?

    I was camping when I read my digital advanced copy before release day. It held me spellbound for days, but I neglected to put down my thoughts before reading another book. Good thing, too, because it gave me a reason to read it again months later. I don’t think I could have written a deserving review without that second read, and even now I’m not sure I can explain why I love this story so much, but I’ll do my best!

    The characterization and scene-setting are amazing. Maine has the uncanny ability to give such unique cues to a conversation over tea, making the characters jump off the page and into your heart. I love the nuances of our hero, Rodri, and his foodie business partners. They get on like old friends who love each other as family. They’re not even close to a normal family, so their idiosyncrasies and secrets attract Libby’s curiosity. Maine gives such good attention to details that are never boring, making the book play like a movie in my head. This novel is no less entertaining the second time through. It’s so good that I didn’t dare skim for fear of missing some exquisite detail.

    The story goes through three different time periods as it solves the mysteries surrounding the archaeological dig the book centers on. The main characters are the archaeologists who want the historical discovery, the local police who want to resolve a more recently buried body, and the two brothers who own or live on the estate in question. There isn’t just one mystery, so the trail is complicated and entertaining through years of folklore and misdeeds. And, of course, there is a despicable villain who becomes more appalling toward the end.

    Looking back at the history, two holy men fall in love with mysterious women, which adds to the gossip surrounding the dig. Then there are three generations of warring brothers. With several points of view to tell each generation’s truth, the present-day archaeologists are searching for these same stories among the ruins. There seems to be too much going on, in the way I describe it, but it’s so mesmerizing. Loaded with deliciously addictive prose and an equally addictive plot, WOMEN OF THE DUNES is exactly the style of fiction I love. With a bit of tender romance that makes me hopeful for a fairy-tale ending, I’m begging for a sequel to catch-up with the sons when they’re grown.

    Sarah Maine has a talent for setting place and time that pulls me into her stories. I especially enjoyed the main characters this time, specifically since their stories are told bit by bit as history is discovered. Maine’s talent for characterization is progressing vividly. Especially with Rodri and his family. They were so much fun that I kept rereading their scenes.

    If I had to make a comparison, I feel as though WOMEN OF THE DUNES moves much faster with the same exquisite detail as

    and

    , but with a depiction that leaps off the page. Although I enjoyed the latter two books, WOMEN OF THE DUNES is beyond brilliant from beginning to end.

    Don’t miss this Romance Junkies’ Recommended Read!

    ***Oct. 4 mini review***

    Excellent historical mystery mixed with modern day archaeology. Full review to come. Even better the 2nd time, and I took notes this time, so hopefully my review will reflect why I loved it.

  • Juli

    Like her great-grandmother before her, Libby Snow is obsessed with Ullaness, a Scottish Island and the Viking Maiden Ulla whose legend gave the island its name. Libby is an archaeologist and she's excited to finally have permission to dig on the site where Ulla allegedly lived. Instead of finding artifacts relating to the legend, the dig uncovers human remains dating back to the Victorian age. The man was murdered, shot to death and his body unceremoniously dumped in a hollow. Clues to the murde

    Like her great-grandmother before her, Libby Snow is obsessed with Ullaness, a Scottish Island and the Viking Maiden Ulla whose legend gave the island its name. Libby is an archaeologist and she's excited to finally have permission to dig on the site where Ulla allegedly lived. Instead of finding artifacts relating to the legend, the dig uncovers human remains dating back to the Victorian age. The man was murdered, shot to death and his body unceremoniously dumped in a hollow. Clues to the murder bind all 3 women -- Ulla, Libby, and her great-grandmother Ellen -- together across time.

    This book is so beautifully descriptive and emotional! I loved the story, the characters and the setting. I don't normally like books that alternate characters and different time lines, but for this story it worked perfectly. We get to share the story of all three women and learn how it all weaves together. Just a lovely story! The mystery and the legend are very engaging. The story kept my attention from beginning to end, with some interesting twists and surprises. Very well written!

    Sarah Maine has written two other books including The House Between Tides and Beyond the Wild River. I'm definitely going to read her other books!

    **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Atria Books via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Scotland, back and forth in time, murders, illegitimate children, missing jewels, secrets, buried treasures, legends, a permitted excavation, authentic characters, and an old estate all greet us in WOMEN OF THE DUNES.

    We follow Libby as she and her university team have gotten permission to excavate the estate of Hector Sturrock and an estate where Libby's great grandmother worked as a servant.

    Libby's grandmother told her of the legend of Ulla that was part of the estate and the town of Ullaness.

    Scotland, back and forth in time, murders, illegitimate children, missing jewels, secrets, buried treasures, legends, a permitted excavation, authentic characters, and an old estate all greet us in WOMEN OF THE DUNES.

    We follow Libby as she and her university team have gotten permission to excavate the estate of Hector Sturrock and an estate where Libby's great grandmother worked as a servant.

    Libby's grandmother told her of the legend of Ulla that was part of the estate and the town of Ullaness. Libby had always enjoyed the legend and liked to hear it every time she visited her grandmother.

    When Libby joined the team for the excavation, she had to decide if she would tell what her grandmother had told her and what her great grandmother had kept from the estate.

    The legend began with a ship coming into a harbor where a monk named Odrhan lived. Ulla was pregnant with her husband’s brother’s child, but when the husband found out about the baby, he badly hurt his brother, Harald, so Ulla sailed away with the injured Harald and sailed to Odrhan for help.

    As generations continued so did the legend and its people. The most interesting aspect was that Libby was the current generation of the women involved, and there were many secrets kept by them all.

    WOMEN OF THE DUNES was captivating simply because of the lifestyle of the original family as well as those who lived in the Sturrock estate today.

    The women of all generations had stories to tell, the estate’s castle-like home still kept its charm, and the legend made WOMEN OF THE DUNES enticing.

    I really enjoyed the descriptions of the land and the house. Going back in time and hearing a story re-created is something I always love to read about.

    The two stories - present and past - connected, came full circle, and brilliantly meshed together as mirrored stories.

    Any reader who enjoys castles, secrets, looking for clues in old documents, and re-tracing the steps of characters that lived long ago will want to read WOMEN OF THE DUNES.

    WOMEN OF THE DUNES is going to be a favorite. 5/5

    This book was given to be as an ARC by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  • Kathleen Ernst

    I enjoyed this tale set on Scotland's western coast. Not a mystery in the traditional whodunit sense, but a story of family history, legends, and lore. Viewpoints include Libby, an archeologist seeking answers to a long-lost family secret, and an ancestor who once lived on the estate Libby is now studying. The author creates a wonderful sense of place. All in all an enjoyable read.

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    The first book I read by Sarah Maine was

    and I was blown away by the wonderful story and the atmospheric setting. I was eager to find out if

    would be as good. And it was!

    To be able to effortlessly write a book with three different storylines without confusing or making any of the storylines less interesting than the others is a gift and I think that Sarah Maine has this gift. I'm so used to dual storylines that getting one with three storylines feels li

    The first book I read by Sarah Maine was

    and I was blown away by the wonderful story and the atmospheric setting. I was eager to find out if

    would be as good. And it was!

    To be able to effortlessly write a book with three different storylines without confusing or making any of the storylines less interesting than the others is a gift and I think that Sarah Maine has this gift. I'm so used to dual storylines that getting one with three storylines feels like an oddity, in a good way.

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    The description of this book captivated me. My alter ego in college enjoyed archaeological digs, so I’m up for anything with an excavation, multiple timelines, and history.

    Women of the Dunes is told in three timelines, including a Norsewoman in the 9th century, a 19th century woman, and a contemporary archaeologist, Libby. A Scottish island, Ullanessm, draws people to it with its ancient stories and myths, including the main characters

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    The description of this book captivated me. My alter ego in college enjoyed archaeological digs, so I’m up for anything with an excavation, multiple timelines, and history.

    Women of the Dunes is told in three timelines, including a Norsewoman in the 9th century, a 19th century woman, and a contemporary archaeologist, Libby. A Scottish island, Ullanessm, draws people to it with its ancient stories and myths, including the main characters. How the three timelines intersect is natural and fulfilling.

    The author has clearly done impeccable research, and her own background in archaeology shows. In the end, this is an interesting tale of betrayal, murder, love, and redemption, shrouded in a cozy, easy-to-read, comforting historical mystery.

    Thank you to Sarah Maines, Atria Books, and Netgalley for the copy.

  • Kendall

    Women of the Dunes is a beautifully written historical tale about treasures, mysteries, murder, and even a little bit of a romance.

    The story is told in three alternating viewpoints which includes a Norsewoman in the 9th century, a 19th century woman, and Libby who is an archaeologist. The story slowly but beautifully connects the three timelines together.

    The author effortlessly builds upon her research and experience in this historical tale which heightens the story even more.

    And.. let me just

    Women of the Dunes is a beautifully written historical tale about treasures, mysteries, murder, and even a little bit of a romance.

    The story is told in three alternating viewpoints which includes a Norsewoman in the 9th century, a 19th century woman, and Libby who is an archaeologist. The story slowly but beautifully connects the three timelines together.

    The author effortlessly builds upon her research and experience in this historical tale which heightens the story even more.

    And.. let me just say how much I want to go to Scotland now! The metaphors and visualization in this novel is amazing!

    In all.... this was an enjoyable read with a cozy mystery at it's finest! I read this in a day... so that must tell you something ;).

    3.5 stars rounded up.

    Thank you so much to Netgalley and Atria for the advanced arc in exchange for a honest review.

    Published to GR: 7/17/18

    Publication date: 7/24/18

  • Sarah

    Check out all of our reviews at

    Happy Reading, friends!

    Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine Book Review

    Three tales all surrounded by mythology, secrets & tradition on the western coast of Scotland. If you're wanting to leave your life behind for a bit, head to Ullaness with Sarah Maine to meet the Women of the Dunes.

    An Archaeological Dig That Uncovers Secrets

    Libby Snow has deep-rooted family history to the coastal sea town of Ullaness. Growing up, her grandmother regal

    Check out all of our reviews at

    Happy Reading, friends!

    Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine Book Review

    Three tales all surrounded by mythology, secrets & tradition on the western coast of Scotland. If you're wanting to leave your life behind for a bit, head to Ullaness with Sarah Maine to meet the Women of the Dunes.

    An Archaeological Dig That Uncovers Secrets

    Libby Snow has deep-rooted family history to the coastal sea town of Ullaness. Growing up, her grandmother regaled her with the myth & story of the mysterious Ulla. On the surface, Libby, an archaeologist, arrives in Ullaness prepared to participate in an excavation at Sturrock House. Libby's family has history & they carry secrets from this land. Yet, here Libby is, ready to slide in with the hope of uncovering some truth.

    Unexpectedly, a man is found dead prior to the start of the official excavation. There's a give & take type of relationship between the landowners & the archaeologists. Libby takes on the role of appeasing the landowners while taking part in the investigation of who this man is & what he was doing in Ullaness. Quickly, emotions, history & her family's ties to this town rise to the surface.

    Sarah Maine - Three Timelines, Beautiful Scenery & a Mystery.

    While I can burn through a book in a day, I savored every syllable of Women of the Dunes. I honestly cannot remember reading a book that captivated me in this way. There's something about Sarah Maine's storytelling style that reels me in. Quickly I'm transported into the story, but something tells me to pace myself. This way, I understand & appreciate every morsel of the tale.

    Let's All Go to Scotland

    Women of the Dunes is incredibly atmospheric. While I haven't yet visited Scotland, I was THERE. I can picture Sturrock House, the water's edge, the land, the dunes & I loved every minute of Sarah Maine setting the scene. I'm ready to read another book that takes place in Scotland immediately. I need to go back!

    THE VERDICT

    I am Really Into This book. Women of the Dunes is not my typical fare & I loved reading a bit outside of my comfort zone. Women of the Dunes has layers of mystery with a historical fiction type of feel. The atmospheric writing is unbeatable & you'll no doubt be entranced by Ullaness.

    Special thanks to Sarah Maine , Atria Books & NetGalley for providing our copy in exchange for an honest & fair review.

  • Erin

    Well, I was quite excited to receive this story after being refused a copy of Sarah Maine's earlier book,

    . Whoever designs the covers for Maine's books should know they are stunning and suit her stories well. However I am feeling(surprisingly) lukewarm over my reading experience. The writing is strong, the multi narrative, an intriguing story, but the

    and the pagan story was probably the most

    Well, I was quite excited to receive this story after being refused a copy of Sarah Maine's earlier book,

    . Whoever designs the covers for Maine's books should know they are stunning and suit her stories well. However I am feeling(surprisingly) lukewarm over my reading experience. The writing is strong, the multi narrative, an intriguing story, but the

    and the pagan story was probably the most fascinating and yet often played second fiddle to the contemporary storyline and that of 1890 which didn't always hold my full attention. Maybe it is me, the heat, or my itchy bug bites, but this was a real hit and miss.

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