This book is GORGEOUS. The aesthetics are incredible, and I LOVE aesthetically pleasing books, so this is excellent.
It’s set on an island that plays host to an abbey- the Red Abbey- and narrated by one of the novices, a girl named Maresi. She is there because her family couldn’t afford to feed her during a famine, and ever since then, she’s taken care of the younger and the more junior novices. It chronicles her life and the life of the others there after the arrival of a girl named Jai, who fled from an abusive father to find sanctuary there- but when Jai’s past comes back to bite her, the entire abbey is affected.
Maresi and Jai have the cutest little friendship- Jai is very timid at first, but Maresi takes her under her wing and helps her get used to abbey life. The Sisters are the greatest; they are all present but not overshadowing, secondary but complex. The religion is very well developed, and though we don’t get a clear idea of what’s going on in the outside world, the history of the island is deep and wonderful and so, so interesting. I desperately hope that book 2 will be translated, otherwise, I might learn Finnish solely to read it!