Series: The Red Abbey Chronicles #1
Release Date: January 5th 2017
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars
Maresi came to the Red Abbey when she was thirteen, in the Hunger Winter. Before then, she had only heard rumours of its existence in secret folk tales. In a world where girls aren’t allowed to learn or do as they please, an island inhabited solely by women sounded like a fantasy. But now Maresi is here, and she knows it is real. She is safe.
Then one day Jai tangled fair hair, clothes stiff with dirt, scars on her back arrives on a ship. She has fled to the island to escape terrible danger and unimaginable cruelty. And the men who hurt her will stop at nothing to find her.
Now the women and girls of the Red Abbey must use all their powers and ancient knowledge to combat the forces that wish to destroy them. And Maresi, haunted by her own nightmares, must confront her very deepest, darkest fears.
A story of friendship and survival, magic and wonder, beauty and terror, Maresi will grip you and hold you spellbound.
Maresi is an enchanting read which follows a young girl who lives at the Red Abbey. This gorgeous island is home to a group of women and girls, who work for themselves and forbid men to come to the island. When their world is threatened Maresi and the sisters must use all their knowledge and power to save everything that they know.
This was such a fascinating little book. It sucks you in deeper and deeper and leaves you desperate for more of this stunning world. I completely fell in love with the island setting and I loved the way the author brought it to life. The abbey and the nature surrounding it was vividly painted on each page and it definitely brought the story to life.
The plot is a bit more of a slow burn, giving you time to get to know the characters and the world before ramping up the action in the latter half of the book. I enjoyed getting to know Maresi and Jay. They were multi-layered characters with dark pasts and it was lovely watching their friendship bloom.
Maresi is an incredibly unique feminist fantasy tale. This is a coming of age story, full to the brim with the themes of friendship, family and the strength of women. This is a beautifully told story and I’m so looking forward to going back to this world in books two and three.