Sunley's debut novel is an intricate family travelogue, based in the present of Icelandic-Canadian life and the half-mythical world of her grandparents' Iceland. Sunley gives narrative reins to the granddaughter of a famous Icelandic poet, young Freya, whose memoir begins with the summer she first meets her mom's family in the Icelandic-Canadian village of Gimli. The bitter tension Freya discovers between her sensible mother and her unpredictable aunt goes deeper than personality differences, apparently tied to Aunt Birdie's role as family history keeper, her insistence that the children learn their Icelandic heritage, Norse mythology and language: “Icelandic words are tricksters. Acrobats. Masters of disguise. Shape-shifters.” Equally capricious are Sunley's characters who, over 20 years of family storms and mental illnesses, pull Freya across the globe, landing her more than once in beautiful, beguiling Iceland itself. This grand coming-of-age-novel boasts a dynamic set of characters and a rich bank of cultural and personal lore, making this dark, cold family tale a surprisingly lush experience.