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Publisher's Summary

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.

Angrboda’s story begins where most witches' tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life - and possibly all of existence - is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family...or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

This audiobook includes a PDF that contains the Acknowledgments and the Appendix - a listing of people and places that appear in the story, and recommendations for further reading.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Genevieve Gornichec (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A deep journey into the mists of the ancient Norse world of gods, monsters and humans, who shape shift from one to another.  But the heart of the story is a witch’s passage over many lifetimes and the ultimate sacrifice she makes for those she loves. A timeless tale of great power and artistry." (Margaret George, New York Times best-selling author of The Splendor Before the Dark)

“A beautiful and fleshed-out story for the jötunn Angrboða.... Genevieve Gornichec both acknowledges her erasure and resolves it, giving Angrboða a life beyond her relationship with Loki, even as she explores their love story in detail. We see Angrboða as a powerful witch and seer, a devoted mother, a lover and friend, and most importantly, as a woman at the heart of her own story at last. I’m very grateful for books like this one.” (Samantha Shannon, New York Times best-selling author of The Mask Falling

“Ms. Gornichec subverts the mythology from inside, knowledgeably and provokingly. Whatever the Elder Edda may say, the heroines of The Witch’s Heart will not be a delight to “wicked women” alone.” (Tom Shippey, The Wall Street Journal

What listeners say about The Witch's Heart

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A Masterful Exploration of Norse Myth

I stayed up past my bedtime to finish this and had the very best time.

The Witch’s Heart is a masterpiece of exploration into Norse Myth. Having dabbled in making a linear timeline out of these myths myself, it was an absolute joy to watch Gornichec weave the myths into the story in unexpected ways. There were moments where I stopped reading to appreciate the craft of how she put the pieces together in ways that had never before occurred to me.

This book is written in a very particular style that, to me, calls back to older types of storytelling. It might be a challenge for readers who are used to fast-paced, high stakes books that start with a deadly car chase at chapter one, but it’s a mistake to confuse the calm, steady pacing (and soothing audiobook narration) with a slow book. Angrboda spends part one creating a life for herself, only to have part two destroy so much of what she’s built. And the domesticity of part one is what makes this book as impactful as it is.

Something that’s desperately important to this book is its portrayal of the lives of women, and in general, how the lives and wellbeing of these characters revolve around a cast of male Gods who continue to affect the character’s lives despite these Gods rarely being on stage. Each of the women, as well as Loki (who is canonically genderfluid, fight me), find themselves manipulated and pitted against each other time after time, creating enemies out of allies. This might sound familiar to some women out there.

Gornichec makes no move to belittle or minimize Angrboda’s more traditional women’s roles as wife, witch, mother, and practitioner of seidr. To me, it’s a statement of bravery to spend so much time focused on a set of roles that some would claim unworthy of the spotlight. Being a mom isn’t important or exciting enough to be the theme of a book, everyone is a mom, get off the stage./s But by focusing so intimately and for a large part of the book on these roles, Gornichec creates a book that can be enjoyed by many, but that feels like it’s written as a testament to the women who hold up the world.

It also has to be said that I don’t cry over many books these days, but that ending had me leaking from my eyes.

TL;DR? Buy it.

19 people found this helpful

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THE BEST

This book is actually the best one. Out of all the books. ALL the books.

12 people found this helpful

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Ideal Norse Fiction

This book is absolutely fantastic. From the opening character reveal 15 minutes in, onward. I was absolutely obsessed with this book and engaged in every minute. Writing like this is a credit to literature. It's so inspiring to see authors of this skill still writing for us in these modern times. I cannot wait for Genevive's next book and am rapt for her next story. My new favorite novel.

11 people found this helpful

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Heart-rending & reassuring, compelling, genuine

The sacred & brilliant test of motherhood. The enduring courage it takes to love unconditionally. The staggering testament of sacrifice, not to the greater gods, but for the greater good. A staggeringly beautiful story of love & heartbreak, risk & reward, ephemera & eternity, The Witch's Heart reminds us that we are made from stories, made of stories, & stories are what remain long after we're gone, so that we live on.

7 people found this helpful

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Different and captivating

Here is a book that I absolutely did not want to stop listening to! I've never read anything about Nordic Gods before and it's so refreshing to do so now. This book is on my list of favorites. I also like the choice of the narrator, I think it's a good fit for the voice of a wise witch.

7 people found this helpful

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Fabulous Retelling

A wonderful modern retelling of Norse mythology from the point of view of Angreboda, Mother of Monsters. Kind of like the the old film Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. It hits most of the highlights including Ragnarok. It would have been nice to have a Icelandic native doing the narration, but Jane Entwistle's beautiful voice works as well.

5 people found this helpful

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Good then bad

I rather enjoyed the first half of the book, giving this little known character a voice. The rest of it, however, I found rather boring. And as a Norwegian that takes great pride in my people's history, I wasn't the biggest fan of many aspects of this story. From Hel's looks to Odin's reasoning. Not to mention how the author changed the history of binding Jordmungandir and Fenris, and why it happened, and completely cutting out Helheim.

4 people found this helpful

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Wow...such a great book!

I love Norse mythology, and Loki's stories are some of my favorites. Angrbođa is an often overlooked character. This book stunningly portrays her archetype, and many others, in Norse mythology. I will be reading this (aka listening) over and over.

4 people found this helpful

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Stunning

Absolutely stunning. The characters display desires, will and wisdom as the story of the worlds unfold. Beautifully written and executed with hope reminding us of magic.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting take on Romance, Betrayal, & Mythology

This book took me by surprise, I wasn't sure if a love story between an ancient witch and Loki was up my alley. But the author takes you through some twists and turns for a intriguing story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Caron D.
  • 03-20-21

Brilliant

I am an avid reader of mythology and fantasy. This was an interesting and thought provoking perspective of a much overlooked Angrboda. I loved this story. Angrboda is portrayed as having the strength and commitment we all wish we had. She is now my favourite character in Norse mythology ❤️

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa Love
  • 03-12-21

Just wonderful

I loved this book so much! one of the best books I've read and I've nearly read 1000.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Triner Scot
  • 12-13-21

A fresh new look at old stories

3.5

A refreshing new look at the tales of nordic mythology and the events of Ragnarok.

In drawing on an under-used but pivotal character of this mythology Gornichec shines a light on the gods and creatures she weaves into her story from a whole new angle we have not seen before.

The writing is fluid and expressive, though the dialogue does not match the quality of the description. No character goes without their flaws, consuming them as much as they did in the sagas this story is inspired by.

The pacing of the story could make it harder to stay gripped than it should have done, with pages where a dozen exciting things happened often followed by long stretches where it was difficult to see the purpose of what was being described.

This was more than made up for by a beautiful and vivid bittersweet ending that really tugged the heart and made so many of the relationships built worthwhile.

Definitely worth a read by any fan of folklore and mythology.

- The narration was very well done, ideal for an audio book

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  • Joe
  • 11-23-21

WOW what a story!!!

absolutely brilliant,loved this,if u love norse mythology this book is a must,I could easily listen to this again,a story entwined with other stories loved listening to it from this angle,the narrator was excellent,really made the story come alive, I rate this book easily 5 stars.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-28-21

interesting take on the Norse mythology,

personally wasn't keen on the narrator accent, but enjoyed the story well enough, a good listen of you like the genre

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  • andi alexander
  • 03-29-21

A rewarding listen

A beautifully narrated saga. Evokes an ancient way of life and the end of days and how love and sacrifice bring about a new world. Best of all hearing about these well known characters from a female perspective.

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  • Helen Engstrom
  • 11-11-21

A brilliant story, beautifully written

This is such a beautiful story with characters I wanted to spend more time with. At the end of the book I started it again immediately. Norse mythology richly reimagined.

Jayne Entwistle’s narration was perfect.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-11-21

Thoroughly Enjoyable

For anyone that enjoys mythology, Genevieve Gornichec has vividly brought the Norse gods to life. Through the untold story of Angrboda, we are brought a portrayal of the Aesir from the opposing side, woven with love, treachery, and betrayal. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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  • Suzan
  • 11-06-21

Spell binding

An absolutely spellbinding narrator enacting a beautifully written book of Gods and Goddesses, Witches and Lore, I do hope they team up again!

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  • IndianaDoogs
  • 10-17-21

So interesting!

Super refreshing to listen to tales of old, something new and different for me to listen too. I absolutely loved it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-21-21

Wonderful story

I Loved how the author joined all the norse saga characters together perfectly.

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  • Mordsith
  • 08-17-21

I loved it

I loved this story so much I read the book twice then I listened to the Audible for fun.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-31-21

Brilliant!!!

Brilliant story and fantastic reading. Made me cry and smile, giggle and sigh. As with all good tales the only thing wrong was that it didn’t go on for longer 😀 it was such a treat to listen to and get lost in.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Candice
  • 07-26-21

It felt like a love story

A love story with too many emotions for a true fantasy. I enjoyed it, but at times felt bored.