If my reading tastes were just a bit different this would be a 5 star read, so don't let my 3 star rating dissuade you. I picked up this book for the sole reason that I was going on a trip to Iceland, and I wanted to immerse myself in the place a little before going. In this the book was partially successful - the parts about Iceland really captured the place. But this book is less about Iceland than it is about relationships, people, and what makes them tick. That's not a bad thing at all, in fact it's the mark of an excellent book, but it wasn't precisely what I was in the mood for.
Sunley's writing is absolutely gorgeous. Her prose is top notch, and I'm surprised she hasn't gotten more attention. Her way with words, and ability to really create these places and people was excellent. The characters she crafted, particularly Freya and Birdie, came to life in such a way they felt real. A large part of this book, for me, centered around mental illness, and the subject was handled deftly - I kept thinking of a member of my own family as I read, because Sunley captured that particular illness so accurately. In fact, that might have been simultaneous what kept me reading, as well as what made me weary as I read. These broken people were so familiar to me that I couldn't help care what happened to them, but also be somewhat tired as they spun out of control, just as I am when my loved ones do so.
After I finished this book I flew to Iceland and found myself driving around the island. As I did so I saw many of the places Sunley wrote about, and it made them feel even more special. It gave me an anchor point for my travels. I'm glad I read this book, even though I was hoping for more mythology and less family drama. If you want to read an exceptionally well written story about broken people trying to discover the truth of themselves you won't go wrong here.