A very close friend of mine just moved to the city where I currently live and study. For the sake of staying somewhat anonymous and because I am a geek (and proud of it), lets call my city Winterfell. Looking at the map, it is situated close to where Winterfell would be, it is always cold even in the summer, we had snow in May (summer-snows), and winter is already coming.
Having a close friend move up here have been so much fun, and it has forced me to challenge my normally introverted self somewhat by being more social than I normally am. I’ve even left my room and gone to a bar on a Saturday night -insert chocked gasps here-. It has also let me be a tourist again and I am seeing the city with new eyes, doing all the touristy things that I didn’t do when I moved here last year because I didn’t know anybody and didn’t want to do it all by my lonesome.
Anyway, last Saturday she roped me into going to a flee-marked at a school. The gym was absolutely packed with people fighting over clothes in different piles, so after a few minutes I ditched the idea of ever locating anything useful in the clothing section and went to the used books instead. I didn’t really expect to find anything, the kind of books I like to read doesn’t usually end up amongst the books at a flee-marked. Still, browsing through piles of books beats the piles of clothes and the kids high on sugar, right? In a corner I found my treasure…
A cardboard box was standing in a corner behind a plastic bag with old romance novels. I didn’t really have much hope of it containing something I would want, but I still felt compelled to look in it, and boy am I glad I did! The box was sent to someone (it still had parts of the shipping details on it) directly from the publisher and contained the entire Witchmaster/ Heksemesteren/ Häxmästaren series by Margit Sandemo, brand new hardback copies. At an auction, these would have sold for at least 170-200$ if not more, they had no idea what kind of treasure they were selling. So I grabbed the 15 books and almost fainted at the counter when they asked me to pay 5$ for the entire box. That is not even 1/3 of what one of the books in paperback costs, and these hadn’t even been opened before!
Margit Sandemo is one of my heroes, she has gone through so much in her life and she is still going strong. One of her other series “The Legend of the Ice People” has been translated to English and I don’t think any other series is so well read in Scandinavia as those 47 books. I can not recommend them enough, and you can find them on amazon, both as paperback and some as kindle books. I have been wanting to own these books since I was 13, which is when I first read them and fell in love with the mystical lore in the books, and now I do! Margit Sandemo has such a particular way of looking at life and other people, even the villains in her books are described in a humane way (at least sometimes, I’m sure there are exceptions) to explain their actions, and the main characters always gave me hope that there are some truly good people in the world. She addresses some of the darker sides of history such as the Inquisition, the Witch trials, poverty, fear and how humans have treated animals and it feels almost like she is trying to apologize to the animals and to all those who have suffered for the wrongdoings of our ancestors. I really can’t explain it, but Margit Sandemo is an author worth checking out.
The Witchmaster (which is the name for a male witch) is set in the late 1600’s and the early 1700’s in Norway, Iceland and later further south in Europe as the main characters move around a bit. We follow a young girl who is not particularly beautiful (and what a refreshing change that is) with a plain look and a slightly boyish figure, but with a warmth and goodness in her eyes and a joyful way of looking at life that makes people around her feel just a little bit better about their own lives.
Tiril grows up in the upper-middle class and she is ignored by her parents because of her plain looks, while her parents prefer to show off her older sister whose looks makes her resemble a china doll. Personally I think I might have grown to hate my sister if that was me, but Tiril is just happy for her and spends her time and energy helping the less fortunate people around her instead. Soon we learn that things are not what they seem, and Tiril’s sister is the one to be pitied. The sisters find themselves in danger each from a different foe, and we soon learn that there is more to Tiril’s parentage and backstory than even she knew as people are trying to kill her. Cue a gentleman in love with her sister and a mysterious stranger from Iceland with powers unknown, and you have a historical novel with characters you can love and just enough magic to make things interesting.
Never again will I snort at the idea of finding jewels at flee markets!
How about you? Ever found a treasure where you least expected to find it?