Book Review: “Troll Mill” by Katherine Langrish

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If you thought the troubles of Peer Ulfsson were over, think again. Even after the events of Troll Fell he is not free of the threat of the trolls, the fear of his monstrous miller uncles, or the insecurity of not really belonging to the kindly farm family that has taken him in. Anxious about his future, miserable in love, Peer has enough things on his mind before he collides with Kersten, wife of Peer’s fisherman friend Bjorn. Kersten thrusts her weeks-old infant into Peer’s arms and runs headlong into the sea.

Peer isn’t the only one stunned. Bjorn is shattered by the disappearance of his wife, and refuses to accept that she has drowned. His grief isn’t helped by rumors that Kersten was a seal woman, captured and held captive by Bjorn until she recovered her sealskin coat and returned to the sea. But Peer, his friend Hilde, and his family grow increasingly concerned as more and more clues hint that this seal-woman story is true.

But Hilde’s folks have other problems to deal with: the malice of Granny Greenteeth, the spirit of the mill pond… the rebellion of the friendly Nis who helps out around the house… the sneaking and scheming of two lubbers… the mystery of Peer’s uncles’ abandoned mill working by itself at night, even while Peer spends his days preparing to take it over… the gruesome preparations for a troll prince’s christening… sightings of ghostly ships and death omens on the sea… and finally, a complex and thrilling climax in which a Nordic farm family matches wits and courage with several dangerous, magical enemies at once.

Langrish has followed through on her success in Troll Fell with an equally exciting and spooky sequel, filled to equal measure with the spirits of Nordic folklore and the growing pains of an adolescent boy. I was happy to learn that this is a trilogy, and the third book –Troll Blood – is already in print.