When a fleet of one hundred English ships is caught in a
horrible storm off the cold coasts of fifteenth-century Iceland, twenty-five
ships are lost. For Ragna, the daughter of a respected family and betrothed to the
wealthy and dashing Thorkell, life takes an unexpected turn when her
relationship with one of the seamen washed ashore results in pregnancy. Now
barren due to a traumatic childbirth and stigmatized as a fallen woman, she is
left with no prospects for marriage when her betrothal is ultimately canceled.
A decade later, Ragna becomes a housekeeper to the new
English bishop in North Iceland, where passionate and ambitious Thorkell is a
priest and steward. They embark on a fervent but doomed love affair, as priests
cannot marry and Ragna will not be a concubine. Little does Ragna know but her
host, the bishop, is instigating the conflict between the English and Nordic
settlers to his own gain, with a devastating impact on his housekeeper. As
sweeping as it is intimate, On the Cold Coasts is a powerful, enduring
story of love and personal sacrifice.
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