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"The most powerful words in the English language are 'tell me a story.'"---Pat Conroy

From left to right: Alice Stephens (Famous Adopted People); Solveig Eggerz (Sigga of Reykjavik); Leslie Rollins (Good Time Girl); Bethanne Patrick (Washington Post book reviewer) PANEL TALK on Strong Female Protagonists



From Sigga of Reykjavik 


"I was in the shed shoveling cow dung. When I heard the new calf bawl for its mother, I entered its dark pen, placed my arms under its soft belly, buried my nose in its spicy smell, and raised it off the ground. When I set it down, it nuzzled me. I rubbed the strings of saliva into my sweater, so Mama wouldn't notice. She didn't like the lifting, didn't believe I needed to build my strength to defend against the men on the farm. I was ten years old, but one day I'd be Sigga the Strong and break somebody's jaw."

---pg. 1, Sigga of Reykjavik


"I left [Bergthora] to soak and began cleaning a fish for dinner. I fried onions and placed the fish in the pan. When something bubbled in the tub, I looked up. Bergthora was no longer visible. She had disappeared below the surface. I gripped her shoulders, pulled her up, and slapped both of her cheeks. 'You almost died,' I said angrily....She shook the water from her ears. 'I was just resting.'"

---pp. 100-101, Sigga of Reykjavik 



"With my arms full of seaweed, I approached the lumpy sandbag fort the Americans had built to guard the fjord against German invasion. Incredible. Why would Germans come into the fjord? I passed the fort as close as I dared. I probably smelled like smoked lamb. But men liked the smell of meat, I told myself." 

---pg. 208, Sigga of Reykjavik





British soldiers occupy Reykjavik May 1940
Launching Defying Gravity, an anthology of DC women writers, edited by Richard Peabody
The selkie or seal woman from the legend depicted at Mikladalur, Faroe Islands by artist Hans Pauli Olsen. She holds her sealskin or "hood" in her hand and emerges as a beautiful woman, who entices lonely farmers to fall in love with her.
A seal woman is a person of dual consciousness, someone who grew up in several countries, always aware of the home country, the place of "belonging," the place that lives in the heart but remains unattainable. The seal woman teeters between Now and Then and Here and There. This has been my experience.

SEAL WOMAN. Charlotte is the seal woman, a creature of two worlds, Iceland and Germany. Memories of her Jewish first husband Max and their daughter--whose fate remains unresolved--haunt her every day existence and threaten to eclipse the reality of two young sons, a farmer husband, a cow to milk and a shed to clean out.


"In this fierce and poignant novel, Solveig Eggerz deftly transports her readers between Germany and Iceland as her heroine struggles to come to terms with her past and present."
--Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street

"Solveig Eggerz takes us to a littoral world where ancient legend touches everyday life as surely and constantly as the North Sea meets the East Coast of Iceland."

--Dan Yashinsky, author of Suddenly They Heard Footsteps:Storytelling for the Twenty-First Century

"I found this book almost impossible to put down; Charlotte's secrets will haunt you for a long time."

--Robert Bausch, author of Out of Season

"The blend of knowledge about Berlin during the war with rural life in Iceland and with the development of Charlotte is intriguing, gripping, thought provoking."

--Dorothy U. Seyler, author of Read, Write, and Reason

"Set in the tough but beautiful landscape of Iceland, a wonderfully written story about the triumph of love, strength, and art over crippling loss."

--Barbara Esstman, author of A More Perfect Union