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Fog Island Reader Reviews

Fog Island

Charlotte Walker

A fantastic, interesting and tense thriller that I couldn't put down. I'm intrigued to see what happens in the next books.

This book builds the tension from the first paragraph with a flash from the climax of the book, before starting the story anew. Sofia is a relatable character that has just graduated and is unsure what direction her life should be headed. This openness and vulnerability is prayed upon by the charming and intoxicating Frank Oswald. Sofia heads to Oswald's community on Fog Island to be a part of developing a new library, but as the fog rolls in what seems to be a bright happy community takes a turn (pathetic fallacy in this book is very well used). The island that, on the surface appeared to be a peaceful and happy retreat becomes more and more oppressive as winter approaches. With the potential for every move to be wrong, I read with bated breath to see if Sofia would be able to find her way off the island, shouting at the pages occasionally at dangers Sofia faced.

This is a fantastic book and I found it fascinating that the initial premise was based on the author's own experiences of being a part of a cult. I was hooked after a couple of chapters. It is a very good book that seems to stand alone well, so I'm intrigued about what is going to happen in the rest of the trilogy.

Nicola Kingswell

The story of an intelligent young woman's venture into a cult and how she ends up running for her life from the madman leader.

Sofia meets the handsome and charismatic Franz Oswald at a guest lecture at her University. She is intrigued by the ViaTerra way of life he preaches. She accepts the invitation with her best friend Wilma to visit the mansion on Fog Island to find out more. Once there, Sofia is treated to the full programme and famous theses, that even celebrities have endorsed. Sofia is flattered when Franz asks her to stay on and set up the community's library. With nothing better to do, and lulled into a false sense of security from her experience of the programme, Sofia readily accepts. Slowly things start to unravel and Sofia comes to realise that ViaTerra isn't as wondeful as it seems, and Franz isn't quite the nice guy he first appeared to be.

This is a super novel and the writer captures the slow changes in atmosphere and fear beautifully. There's a great line near the end of the book that says "..slowly everything changes. So slowly you hardly notice." and I think that captures the essence of the novel. At first everything seems fresh and wonderful to Sofia, and it tilts so slowly that she hardly notices until she is running for her life. A fantasically powerful read.

Jo Marie

An eerie psychological thriller set on a remote Swedish island and based on the author's real-life experiences living in a cult.

Fog Island is just as sinister and eery as the title sounds. The eeriness is compounded by the fact that this is based on real-life experiences of the author's time in a remote cult.

Sofia is a young and bright professional who is seduced by the charm of Franz Oswald after seeing him lecture on the Swedish mainland. Despite her reservations and the warnngs of firends she goes to visit the community that Franz has set up on the remote island. Seemingly idyllic - the islanders live off the land and share a sense of common duty and prupose. Sofia soon decides to live there permanently but as she finds herself cut off from the mainland and witnesses first time the aggressive side of Franz's personality she starts to think twice about her new home.

This book is a really intriguing exploration of emotional manipulation and how easy it can be to misjudge first appearances. Added to that the remote island backdrop and this book starts to feel brilliantly uneasy and claustrophobic. There were plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing too.

My only criticism is that this felt overly long and could have been edited down in places.

All in all though I enjoyed this book and would give it 3 stars out of five. A perfect escapist read which will send shivers down your spine.

Kerry Bridges

How do you know when you're in a cult? Answer, when you can't get out!

Sofia is a student without any immediate plans for the future and, after hearing a motivational speech made by the charismatic Franz Oswald, she joins his community, "ViaTerra", on Fog Island and establishes the library there. Over time, Oswald becomes more and more controlling and conditions on Fog Island start to spiral out of control. Assisted by her friend Simon, Sofia makes plans to leave. Only nobody is supposed to leave Fog Island...

The author says that this novel is inspired by her 25 years in a cult and, having never experienced that situation myself, I can only say that she brings it chillingly to life. It seems ridiculous to think that one person should have so much power but when you read the novel you can see how minor things begin to escalate and how one person can control and manipulate other people to do his bidding without ever really doing anything themselves.

It is an interesting story but I only give it 3/5 because the writing did not draw me in as much as some novels do and I did start to flag at about 2/3 of the way in. It didn't really pick up properly until right to the end either, but it did finish on an interesting note and left many ideas still to be pondered.

Overall, this is a good story but not a great one; I wonder whether the author's own story is actually even more interesting.

Paul Garland

Sophia Bauman joins ViaTerra full of ideals for the perfect life but is dramatically disillusioned. The inside story of life in a cult where escape is not an option.

This story follows the experiences of Sophia Bauman following her graduation from university when she is charmed by Franz Oswald, his doctrines and his community at ViaTerra on Fog Island. Sophia being unsure of her future is offered and accepts a job by Franz but soon discovers that nothing is as it seems. When summer gives way to winter and dense fog sets in for months she realises that Franz rules the island and his staff with a rod of iron. No contact with the outside world is allowed and punishment is handed out for the most minor indiscretions. As the story develops Sophia becomes very disillusioned and questions her reasons for staying at ViaTerra and should she leave, but then finds nobody can ever leave VieTerra!

Although not a story packed with action it does show how people can be drawn into such situations. Vulnerable people are targeted and held as virtual slaves and abused both physically and mentally.

After the first few chapters I wasn’t sure if I would like this novel but as the story developed I wanted to know how Sophia would finally get out of ViaTerra, as I was sure she would, and what happened to everyone else. I wouldn’t say it was particularly scary in a nightmarish way but scary in the thought that people could actually fall for a cult’s ideals.

A thoughtful and well written novel and I will be interested to see the rest of the trilogy.

Sharon Hall

How a perfect second chance soon changed into a living nightmare. This had me gripped with the twist of the story and had me staying up late to read the end as I wanted to know what happened.

This book had me gripped to find out what happened to Sofia when she went to live on Fog Island, and how the perfect life she thought she’d find, slowly changed into a living nightmare. I loved the flaskbacks as they gave a hint of a different, interwoven story. I liked the twists and the turns of the main story and read the last 50 pages too late into the night as I wanted to find out what happened. A good story that I recommend.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008245344
Publication date: 24th January 2019
Author: Mariette Lindstein
Publisher: HQ an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 560 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, Crime / Mystery, Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Thriller / Suspense,
Categories: Crime & mystery, Thriller / suspense,