The Sacrament
The haunting, vivid story of a nun whose past returns to her in unexpected ways, all while investigating a mysterious death and a series of harrowing abuse claimsA young nun is sent by the Vatican to investigate allegations of misconduct at a Catholic school in Iceland. During her time there, on a gray winter's day, a young student at the school watches the school's headmaster, Father August Franz, fall to his death from the church tower.Two decades later, the child now a grown man, haunted by the past calls the nun back to the scene of the crime. Seeking peace and calm in her twilight years at a convent in France, she has no choice to make a trip to Iceland again, a trip that brings her former visit, as well as her years as a young woman in Paris, powerfully and sometimes painfully to life. In Paris, she met an Icelandic girl who she has not seen since, but whose acquaintance changed her life, a relationship she relives all while reckoning with the mystery of August Franz's death and the abuses of power that may have brought it on.In The Sacrament, critically acclaimed novelist Olaf Olafsson looks deeply at the complexity of our past lives and selves; the faulty nature of memory; and the indelible mark left by the joys and traumas of youth. Affecting and beautifully observed, The Sacrament is both propulsively told and poignantly written tinged with the tragedy of life regrets but also moved by the possibilities of redemption, a new work from a novelist who consistently surprises and challenges.

The Sacrament Details

TitleThe Sacrament
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 3rd, 2019
PublisherEcco
ISBN-139780062899873
Rating
GenreFiction, Mystery, Thriller, Religion

The Sacrament Review

  • *TUDOR^QUEEN*
    January 1, 1970
    This story takes place in both Paris and Iceland in dueling time frames. The main character Sister Johanna grew up as Pauline before she became a nun. As a teenager, she found that unlike her friends, she never was interested in the opposite sex. Then when she boarded at college in Paris, she became intensely attracted to her Icelandic roommate, Halla. As time went by, they worked on learning each other's language, but Pauline was a bit more serious about learning Icelandic. Matters took a This story takes place in both Paris and Iceland in dueling time frames. The main character Sister Johanna grew up as Pauline before she became a nun. As a teenager, she found that unlike her friends, she never was interested in the opposite sex. Then when she boarded at college in Paris, she became intensely attracted to her Icelandic roommate, Halla. As time went by, they worked on learning each other's language, but Pauline was a bit more serious about learning Icelandic. Matters took a momentous turn when a supervising priest's keen eye picked up on Pauline's ardor for Halla. In barely veiled terms he implied his knowledge of this illicit attraction, and precipitated Pauline's removal from that boarding room. Pauline then both worked and slept at the nearby guesthouse which was situated near the basilica and the convent. Halla and Pauline still saw each other, but it wasn't the same, and Pauline had to be more remote and careful about letting on her feelings. Then Pauline decided to become a nun. When college ended, Pauline saw Halla off in her taxi amidst a torture of simmering emotions. They corresponded by letter for awhile, Pauline (now Sister Johanna) still more guarded in her language. Halla wondered if something was wrong, and then the letters just stopped.Now it's 40 years later and Sister Johanna has found a certain kind of peace at a convent in France where she is in charge of tending the rose garden. She also has adopted a dog which she named George Harrison, thinking that he looked a lot like the iconic lead guitarist of The Beatles. In fact, she and Halla used to surreptitiously listen to Beatles albums at college (especially "Revolver"). Just when Sister Johanna is enjoying a bit of serendipity she is contacted by the religious hierarchy to return to Iceland where she had been a nun. Something bad was alleged to have occurred forty years ago involving male children, but never proven. In fact, as the book begins, a critical event in the story is recounted involving a little boy who is treated harshly by a nun and remanded to stay in a closet. To alleviate his boredom, he stands on a pail to look out the tiny window, only to see a priest fall to his death at that very moment. Because of his black cape, he thought it was Batman. This child is now a man and has more information he wishes to impart about the incident. Sister Johanna is summoned to return to Iceland to revisit this unsavory event in her long ago history. I find books about nuns quite intriguing and the cold locale of Iceland I thought would add a melancholy touch to the story. Unfortunately, I found the story slow moving as well as confusing due to the dueling storylines going back and forth throughout the decades. The strange Icelandic locales and names also added to the confusion. Finally, the lack of quotations to denote who was speaking left me even further adrift. I found that it was a lot of effort finally getting to the conclusion of the story with very little payoff. Maybe I'm an outlier for I had seen other positive reviews which prompted me to request this.Thank you to the publisher HarperCollins who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.
    more
  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    A sophisticated novel told from the perspective of an elderly nun trying her best to enjoy her golden years tending to her roses and beloved dog. Her past comes back with a vengeance when she is required to return to Iceland to investigate events from her youth that have resurfaced but have never been forgotten. The unreliability of memory, youthful incompetence, first love, the abuse of power, and the marks on the heart that “sins” and sin leave are deftly and deeply explored. This is my first A sophisticated novel told from the perspective of an elderly nun trying her best to enjoy her golden years tending to her roses and beloved dog. Her past comes back with a vengeance when she is required to return to Iceland to investigate events from her youth that have resurfaced but have never been forgotten. The unreliability of memory, youthful incompetence, first love, the abuse of power, and the marks on the heart that “sins” and sin leave are deftly and deeply explored. This is my first Olafsson but most assuredly not my last.
    more
  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Dark and bleak, is this story of a young woman who struggles with a sexual orientation condemned by the Catholic Church. Going back and forth in time and alternating between Paris and Iceland, the story takes the reader inside the abuse accusations in the church. A nun herself now, she is tasked with the responsibility of investigating the abuse accusations arising out of a boys Catholic school in Iceland and their priest. Silence, a most potent motif is a result of sins kept hidden, of boys 3.5 Dark and bleak, is this story of a young woman who struggles with a sexual orientation condemned by the Catholic Church. Going back and forth in time and alternating between Paris and Iceland, the story takes the reader inside the abuse accusations in the church. A nun herself now, she is tasked with the responsibility of investigating the abuse accusations arising out of a boys Catholic school in Iceland and their priest. Silence, a most potent motif is a result of sins kept hidden, of boys and their parents who are afraid to speak. The end result was unexpected, and surprising.I liked this, sometimes it is all in the atmosphere, and this book has it in spades. The story had a authentic feel, the cold, brooding landscape, a scandal that has hit churches hard all over the world. It all fit together. Plus, I was reading while sitting in front of my picture window, while the sky darkened, the sun set and it seemed like I could imagine the story happening just as it did. Not quite the happy holiday story I should be reading, but it did fit the melancholy I am prone to as the sun stays hidden so often in winter months.ARC from Edelweiss.
    more
  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    I love mysteries that deal with different places. Here, we are transported to Iceland. A French Catholic sister is sent to Iceland to investigate a charge of abuse against two school boys. Why does the Catholic Church send a nun, you ask. Supposedly because she speaks Icelandic. But even she susses out the truth - they don’t want her to discover the truth and are expecting her to fail. We hear from Sister Johanna Marie both at the time of her investigation and some 20 years later, when she is I love mysteries that deal with different places. Here, we are transported to Iceland. A French Catholic sister is sent to Iceland to investigate a charge of abuse against two school boys. Why does the Catholic Church send a nun, you ask. Supposedly because she speaks Icelandic. But even she susses out the truth - they don’t want her to discover the truth and are expecting her to fail. We hear from Sister Johanna Marie both at the time of her investigation and some 20 years later, when she is sent back again when one of the boys changes his story. The sister has her own secret, which we learn early on. The book perfectly captures the times, especially as it pertains to the Catholic Church, when some sins are more acceptable than others. Olafsson has a very sparse writing style, but that doesn’t mean it lacks grace or beauty. He jumps back and forth between Sister Johanna’s memories of her college days, the story in 1987 and the present day. The book covers the abuse of power in all its guises and how those abuses affect the innocent and the powerless. Johanna is a wonderful character. She wrestles with her faith. For her, God is not a certainty but yet she continues to pray and talk to him.And yes, I knew from early on how the book would end, but that didn’t impact my enjoyment of the book.My thanks to netgalley and Ecco for an advance copy of this book.
    more
  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes I think the audio version of a novel makes the story better because of the talent of the narrator. “The Sacrament” by Olaf Olafsson, narrated by Jane Copland is one of those novels that shine in audio. Copland has a melodious voice, capturing the novel’s narrator, Sister Joanna perfectly. Copland has the lilt, accent, and tone that enhances the story of a nun who steadfastly follows her conscious while she understands she’s being ignored and berated.Author Olaf Olafsson writes a story Sometimes I think the audio version of a novel makes the story better because of the talent of the narrator. “The Sacrament” by Olaf Olafsson, narrated by Jane Copland is one of those novels that shine in audio. Copland has a melodious voice, capturing the novel’s narrator, Sister Joanna perfectly. Copland has the lilt, accent, and tone that enhances the story of a nun who steadfastly follows her conscious while she understands she’s being ignored and berated.Author Olaf Olafsson writes a story that exhibits the layers of power in the Catholic Church. Sister Joanna is requested (demanded) to go to Iceland to investigate charges against a Catholic Priest of child abuse. She is to write a report as to her findings, and soon learns that her findings are all for show. The Priest will continue to be a Headmaster to Catholic Schools no matter what her discoveries are. We also learn of Sister Joanna’s history with a particular Priest, that through cunning and political maneuvering has moved up the hierarchy of the Church. He is her nemesis, the thorn that is background noise to her life.Olafsson writes Sister Joanna with a sense of humor. Yes, she is serious, but she has a quiet dignity that has a fun side. For example, her pet is named George Harrison, after the Beatle George Harrison. She was particularly fond of the Beatles in the ‘60’s before she became a nun. While she’s in Iceland, investigating the Priest, a young man is assigned to drive her and accompany her in her investigation. He is an agnostic, with a car named “Jesus”. (As a person who names her own cars, I understand the naming of vehicles.) The reasons for the name are fun. And Sister Joanna agrees with the name and refers to the car as Jesus through the story. The story is mostly Sister Joanna’s rumination of her life, how she became a nun, what she feels about God and spirituality. This is why Jane Copland is the perfect voice for Joanna. Copland brings her to life.There’s a plot twist I didn’t see coming, which I love. Sister Joanna is what I hope most nuns are like. This is the first novel I’ve read by Olafsson. I’ll look for more of his work.
    more
  • Selena
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free e-copy of The Sacrament by Olaf Olafsson from NetGalley for my honest review. Sister Johann is asked to travel to Iceland and investigate an alleged sexual crime between a priest and some young boys. After a very thorough investigation, Sister knows he is guilty. The problem is that none of the children or their parents are willing to have it documented. The priest knows this, of course, and provokes her. An well written and intriguing read.
    more
  • eyes.2c
    January 1, 1970
    Intense Nordic drama!A boy locked in a school's broom closet views something strange out of the window.A Catholic nun whose locked away her own secrets, including the reasons for her not quite belonging despite her best efforts. Her sense of humor, her attachment to her dog George Harrison and her rose garden don't quite still her heart. The persuasive church hierarchy who don't want to know. Cardinal Raffin, a sly holder of Sister Joanna Marie's life from before. He thinks that sending a nun Intense Nordic drama!A boy locked in a school's broom closet views something strange out of the window.A Catholic nun whose locked away her own secrets, including the reasons for her not quite belonging despite her best efforts. Her sense of humor, her attachment to her dog George Harrison and her rose garden don't quite still her heart. The persuasive church hierarchy who don't want to know. Cardinal Raffin, a sly holder of Sister Joanna Marie's life from before. He thinks that sending a nun with secrets can be controlled to investigate a school where abuse charges have been made. That this will suffice.Sister Joanna is sent not once but twice, in her forties and then twenty years later to investigate complaints about the church school. The major part of the novel, is set in Reykjavík, Iceland. How Sister Joanna comes to speak Icelandic is another story that we glimpse as Joanna recalls her time at the Sorbonne as she waits in Paris for her evening flight. Later we come to know more details.I felt like I was constantly in an ice storm reading this, not quite knowing which way was up, but aware of danger. The clues are just beyond reach, almost. I often felt overwhelmed by Joanna's powerlessness in the face of the church hierarchy. I felt the weight of her secrets. I lived the consequences of both her indecisions and her decisions.The ending was a surprise and yet not really. The story looks at the interweaving of the past and present, of how small vacillations, even non action can effect the future. That I am forced to reflect on all that goes on long after I finished reading further commends this story by Olafsson to me. At its heart it is dark and yet the light enters, just in rather different ways.I must say I like the cover, the brooding church with all that space around it, slightly menacing, a shadow on the landscape.A HarperCollins ARC via NetGalley
    more
  • Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!DNF at 35%Well, here we are. I thought this would have a lot of promise -- an Icelandic Catholic nun investigating abuse charges in the Church in Iceland??? Sounds like an awesome book. But, it didn't work for me at all.My biggest complaint was how distant I felt from the story. It doesn't use quotation marks, so it was hard to read for me. That meant I was more focused on trying to see where the sentences started and stopped, and I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!DNF at 35%Well, here we are. I thought this would have a lot of promise -- an Icelandic Catholic nun investigating abuse charges in the Church in Iceland??? Sounds like an awesome book. But, it didn't work for me at all.My biggest complaint was how distant I felt from the story. It doesn't use quotation marks, so it was hard to read for me. That meant I was more focused on trying to see where the sentences started and stopped, and who was talking. I was so focused on that, that I didn't even get to know the characters. In short, the story was hard to track and when I hit 35% of absorbing almost no details, I decided to call it quits.
    more
  • Siri Chateaubriand
    January 1, 1970
    Having read a NYT review of this book I ordered a sample. After reading it I immediately ordered the book and continued into the night, reluctantly putting it down to get some sleep. In the morning I picked it up again and finished it pretty much 24 hours after I had started. I'm not sure why a story about a middle-aged nun, tormented by feelings of having wasted her life, and sent to Iceland on a mission to verify an accusation of abuse, should be so fascinating, but it was. Beautifully told, Having read a NYT review of this book I ordered a sample. After reading it I immediately ordered the book and continued into the night, reluctantly putting it down to get some sleep. In the morning I picked it up again and finished it pretty much 24 hours after I had started. I'm not sure why a story about a middle-aged nun, tormented by feelings of having wasted her life, and sent to Iceland on a mission to verify an accusation of abuse, should be so fascinating, but it was. Beautifully told, juggling several time periods without missing a beat, this novel was a delightful surprise.
    more
  • Marjorie
    January 1, 1970
    A gripping, emotive literary accomplishment. Most highly recommended. Complete review to be posted closer to the publication date of 12/3/2019.
  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this Icelandic mystery. I thought this was going to be a Nordic noir kind of book, but it really didn't have that feel to me. There aren't any grisly murders or oppressive winters, and although the subject of child abuse comes up, it's not described and not done in any sort of gratuitous way. It's handled very well, and I'm really happy about that because I did not want to read anything like that. I like a good Nordic noir, but I wasn't disappointed with what this turned out to I really enjoyed this Icelandic mystery. I thought this was going to be a Nordic noir kind of book, but it really didn't have that feel to me. There aren't any grisly murders or oppressive winters, and although the subject of child abuse comes up, it's not described and not done in any sort of gratuitous way. It's handled very well, and I'm really happy about that because I did not want to read anything like that. I like a good Nordic noir, but I wasn't disappointed with what this turned out to be. This is more of a slow-burning mystery, and it flips between France and Iceland. I loved Sister Johanna, especially the relationship she has with her dog, and I thought the story itself was pretty fascinating. The book juggles three time frames, so it was a bit confusing at times, but it wasn't enough to make me dislike the book or get so lost that I didn't know what was going on. Very well written, and I'd definitely read more from this author in the future. A super big thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review!! :)
    more
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This book tackled a number of issues in interesting settings, Iceland and Paris, however it was confusing for about the first half of the book whether we were in the present, the past, or distant past. The author did that on purpose to add to the suspense but i found it confusing. I liked the character development and felt like they were real people. I may go back and read it again, but feel its a 3 1/2 star book.
    more
  • Taylor Iachini
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.First things first: I ABSOLUTELY did the silly thing where I saw the cover of this book and assumed it to be horror or even suspense. However! After realizing my mistake, I quickly started enjoying this book for the lovely piece of literature that it is! This story is told through the eyes of Sister Johanna Marie, an elderly nun who is called back to Iceland after years to further discuss a case that she looked into I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.First things first: I ABSOLUTELY did the silly thing where I saw the cover of this book and assumed it to be horror or even suspense. However! After realizing my mistake, I quickly started enjoying this book for the lovely piece of literature that it is! This story is told through the eyes of Sister Johanna Marie, an elderly nun who is called back to Iceland after years to further discuss a case that she looked into involving child molestation in the church. The timeline bounces back and forth between current day, her past schooling and when the investigation took place. This was a really great book, and there was even a twist that surprised me at the end of the novel.
    more
  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    This was a good one! The are multiple timelines woven through, so once I caught that, it was easy to navigate. I really enjoyed it. The moody description of Iceland (which I miss, and want to visit again). The characters are compelling, and I would absolutely enjoy hanging out with the main character, she's badass for a nun. I did not see the surprise that awaited me deep in the pages. Very well done! Going back and now reading other works by the author.
    more
  • Shelley Stack
    January 1, 1970
    When you are forced to take it easy after surgery, this is just the kind of book you want. A good mystery woven with beautiful writing. I am now a fan of yet another Icelandic author.
  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    I connected with Pauline/Sister Johanna at every age she was portrayed. It did take me a while to realize there were three points in time (2 trips to Iceland) in the narrative. I loved the last fourth of the book as it all came together.
  • Linda Hutchinson
    January 1, 1970
    For those of us who are religious, or even remotely religious, we know that the 7 sacraments are considered exceedingly important to our daily lives. The purpose of the sacraments is to make people holy, to build up the body of Christ, and finally, to give worship to God; but being signs, they also have a teaching function.”* The book, The Sacrament by Olaf Olafsson, is an interesting story. For those of you looking for a book in translation, this would be a good selection. The story revolves ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ For those of us who are religious, or even remotely religious, we know that the 7 sacraments are considered exceedingly important to our daily lives. The purpose of the sacraments is to make people holy, to build up the body of Christ, and finally, to give worship to God; but being signs, they also have a teaching function.”* The book, The Sacrament by Olaf Olafsson, is an interesting story. For those of you looking for a book in translation, this would be a good selection. The story revolves around a nun who has always felt unworthy due to the harsh judgment by a Bishop about her sexuality upon which she never acts. Interestingly, just like in our modern world, some of those in the high-ranking religious hierarchy believe their job is to dampen your faith and seek to make you feel unworthy. Shame is a powerful thing. This is pretty sad considering it is the last thing Jesus would want…we should be lifted UP, not made to feel less than. This nun, who is respected in her convent, is sent to Iceland to investigate allegations against a different Bishop. It’s not only a test for a woman who has served faithfully for many years, it is also a way to manipulate her into hiding serious wrong-doings. The outcome is shocking and yet, I was satisfied. If you don’t like anything religious, this is not the book for you. If you have ever questioned your faith, this would be a good book for you. If you love the Lord your God, you will get the message. At the end of the day, as the Apostle Paul states in Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” *quora.com. #religion #CatholicChurch #abuse #triggers #childAbuse #iceland ... #reading #books #bookstagram #book #read #bookworm #booklover #bookish #bibliophile #reader #bookaddict #booknerd #bookshelf #novel #booksofinstagram #booklovers #ilovebooks #fiction #lovebooks #bookish #book #bibliophile #lindaleereads2020 #mmdbookclub #idratherbereading #readinglife #mmd
    more
  • Nina
    January 1, 1970
    The story was pretty good but I struggled too long with the bouncing through time. The novel takes place during 3 different periods, but sometimes without indication of where or when until later in the chapter. It would have helped to give chapter titles with a location and date, but that isn’t the author’s way.
    more
  • Mike Salerno
    January 1, 1970
    This author took an awful long time to tell a very simple story. The non-use of punctuation quotes for dialog is not one of my favorite formats. It makes the book tedious to read. The whole story was based on a letter that was never revealed in the book!! What is up with that. First time reading from Olaf. I may or may not give him another try.
    more
  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    Well written, good story.
  • Sylvia. Blau
    January 1, 1970
    Very engaging book. Well written. About the sexual abuse in the church
  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written, suspenseful to the end with a look at the ripple effects of abuse in the Catholic Church.
  • Kaye
    January 1, 1970
    I often think of a mystery as a form of verbal patchwork quilt, with scraps of clues and characters and plot forming the patterns -- which can vary from the randomness of a silk-and-velvet crazy quilt to the structure of the calico wedding-ring template.One of the delightful surprises of quilting is the beauty that can result in from re-combining the simplest of materials. It was just so in the case of Cold Fear by Olaf Olafsson. A nun's memories from two earlier periods of her life, pieced I often think of a mystery as a form of verbal patchwork quilt, with scraps of clues and characters and plot forming the patterns -- which can vary from the randomness of a silk-and-velvet crazy quilt to the structure of the calico wedding-ring template.One of the delightful surprises of quilting is the beauty that can result in from re-combining the simplest of materials. It was just so in the case of Cold Fear by Olaf Olafsson. A nun's memories from two earlier periods of her life, pieced alongside her humble duties of the present, created an astonishing amount of suspense and tension.The settings -- Paris and Reykjavik, in the 1960s, 1980s and sometime in the 21st Century -- were lovingly rendered. The characters' struggles with their idea of God were portrayed so matter-of-factly that they became mere background for their actions -- this was no religious tract.For those of us who read advance readers copies (where the formatting wasn't complete), some of the shifts in the alternating time lines weren't well-delineated. I trust that will be corrected in the published version. Even with that challenge, this was a lovely book. Thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read and review it.
    more
  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    The Sacrament is the story of Sister Johanna Marie, a nun who is sent to Iceland to investigate a possible sexual abuse charge against the Church. As she travels there, she recalls her time at school as well as her early years in the Church.This book is a difficult one to review. On one hand, there was a lot that I appreciated. The prose is lovely and thoughtful, the plot is intriguing, and I'm always a sucker for a good story set in Iceland. However, there was also a lot that I struggled with The Sacrament is the story of Sister Johanna Marie, a nun who is sent to Iceland to investigate a possible sexual abuse charge against the Church. As she travels there, she recalls her time at school as well as her early years in the Church.This book is a difficult one to review. On one hand, there was a lot that I appreciated. The prose is lovely and thoughtful, the plot is intriguing, and I'm always a sucker for a good story set in Iceland. However, there was also a lot that I struggled with throughout the book. I disliked the lack of quotation marks. It made it difficult to differentiate between internal character thoughts and conversations with other people. I also disliked that the chapters bounced around the timeline without any sort of time indicator in the chapter heading. A date and location (or even just the date) at the start of each chapter would have made reading this book a lot easier! I also wasn't particularly fond of Sister Johanna. She's a sad, self-doubting character for much of the book, and I wonder if that affected my perception of her narration. I felt very disconnected from her when I wanted my heart strings to be tugged by what she had gone through. Overall, this book wasn't for me, but if you enjoy thought-provoking stories with a bit of mystery, this might work for you! Thanks to Olaf Olafsson, HarperCollins Publishers, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!
    more
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    ***I received a free advanced copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***Alternating primarily between present day and the 1980s, The Sacrament follows Sister Johanna Marie as she recalls her time investigating allegations against the Church at an Icelandic primary school in the 1980s. When the school's Headmaster, Father August Frans, falls to his death from the church bell tower during the investigation, his death is ruled a suicide. But decades later, new information from an ***I received a free advanced copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***Alternating primarily between present day and the 1980s, The Sacrament follows Sister Johanna Marie as she recalls her time investigating allegations against the Church at an Icelandic primary school in the 1980s. When the school's Headmaster, Father August Frans, falls to his death from the church bell tower during the investigation, his death is ruled a suicide. But decades later, new information from an eyewitness has emerged, and Sister Johanna must race back to Iceland as the truth is finally revealed. What I liked: I loved Páll's character and the dynamic that he had with Sister Johanna. I also enjoyed all of the flashbacks to the 1960s when Sister Johanna (then Pauline) was in school, and the events leading up to her decision to take her vows. What I didn't like: I admittedly struggled with this book for many reasons. The writing style was disjointed and very difficult to follow. This was compounded by the alternating time frames of the narrative, which were not denoted through chapter titles, headers, or any other change in font. I often had to double check when and where the story was taking place. While the story eventually picked up pace and I adjusted to the writing style, overall I did not enjoy this book.
    more
  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    Sister Johanna Marie is one of the most reluctant investigators I’ve ever read about. She’s only looking into accusations of abuse at a Reykjavík Catholic school for two reasons. First, she’s one of the few people in the bishop and the cardinal in charge know who speaks Icelandic. Second, the cardinal who put her on the case thinks he has dirt on Johanna and can push her to make the “right” report when she’s done. But surprising things happen in The Sacrament, by Olaf Olafsson. Maybe this time, Sister Johanna Marie is one of the most reluctant investigators I’ve ever read about. She’s only looking into accusations of abuse at a Reykjavík Catholic school for two reasons. First, she’s one of the few people in the bishop and the cardinal in charge know who speaks Icelandic. Second, the cardinal who put her on the case thinks he has dirt on Johanna and can push her to make the “right” report when she’s done. But surprising things happen in The Sacrament, by Olaf Olafsson. Maybe this time, the pressure to maintain the status quo won’t be strong enough to allow a predator to keep doing his evil work...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.
    more
  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from the goodreads giveaways. I would give it a 3.5. This book "The Sacrament goes back and forth between different time eras. In the 80s when she has to go to Iceland to investigate why a priest died falling from a tower. It is rumored he molested some young boys Johanna cannot get the parents of the boys to interview and say what happened. 20 years later in present day. she is brought back to Iceland to talk to one of the boys who is 20 years older now. the books I received a copy of this book from the goodreads giveaways. I would give it a 3.5. This book "The Sacrament goes back and forth between different time eras. In the 80s when she has to go to Iceland to investigate why a priest died falling from a tower. It is rumored he molested some young boys Johanna cannot get the parents of the boys to interview and say what happened. 20 years later in present day. she is brought back to Iceland to talk to one of the boys who is 20 years older now. the books also has her looking back to the 1960s in college in France and her roommate who came from Iceland and taught Johanna the Icelandic language. This book could get a bit confusing going back and forth in time. there were good parts too. I liked this book for the most part.
    more
  • Doris Vandruff
    January 1, 1970
    Sister Johann has been called to Iceland to investigate a crime. It is a crime of alleged sexual misconduct between a priest and some of the young boys.She is chosen because when she was young she had a friend that was from Iceland and taught her the language. After a thorough investigation Sister Johann knows he is guilty. However, none of the children or their parents will go with her to have it documented officially. What's more the old priest knows her dilemma and taunts her. This is a story Sister Johann has been called to Iceland to investigate a crime. It is a crime of alleged sexual misconduct between a priest and some of the young boys.She is chosen because when she was young she had a friend that was from Iceland and taught her the language. After a thorough investigation Sister Johann knows he is guilty. However, none of the children or their parents will go with her to have it documented officially. What's more the old priest knows her dilemma and taunts her. This is a story that takes current events and weaves it into a interesting and spellbinding book. The characters are interesting and have unique personalities. Definitely recommended.
    more
  • Yolanda
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the setting of this book and the main character. It was a good solid Nordic mystery . I will read more by this author. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    This book was captivating. As a Catholic, I’ve always questioned certain things and this book simply fueled that fire. I simply adored it.
Write a review