Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine Book Review Goodreads
Books,  Fiction,  Historical Fiction,  Mysteries & Thrillers,  Sarah

Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine Book Review

Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine Book Review Goodreads

Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine Book Review

The lowdown from Goodreads 

Publication Date July 24, 2018

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 Ullanessm a lush Scottish island enshrouded in myth and deeply important to her family. Her great-great-grandmother Ellen was obsessed with the strange legend of Ulla, a Viking maiden who washed up on shore with the nearly lifeless body of her husband—and who inspired countless epic poems and the island’s name.

Central to the mystery is an ornate chalice and Libby, an archaeologist, finally has permission to excavate the site where Ulla is believed to have lived. But what Libby finds in the ancient dunes is a body from the Victorian era, clearly murdered…and potentially connected to Ellen.

What unfolds is an epic story that spans centuries, with Libby mining Ellen and Ulla’s stories for clues about the body, and in doing so, discovering the darker threads that bind all three women together across history.

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!


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.

Let’s connect with books!  We have all of our reviews on Goodreads!

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Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine Book Review Author Bio Susie McDonald at Brick Lane Studio
Sarah Maine | Photo Credit: Susie McDonald at Brick Lane Studio

Sarah Maine was born in England but grew up partly in Canada before returning to the United Kingdom, where she now lives. She is the author of The House Between TidesBeyond the Wild River, and Women of the Dunes.

Momma, wife, baker, reader & smart ass. I am Really Into doughnuts, inside jokes, trash TV, pizza, 48 Hours & George Michael.

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