Published by St. Martin's Griffin on September 8, 2015
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One extraordinary Saxon noblewoman and one fearless Viking warrior find passion and danger in this dazzling and sensuous debut
Marissa Campbell's debut novel is a winning combination of romance, history, and adventure sure to appeal to fans of Diana Gabaldon.
It is 869. For eighteen years, Avelynn, the beautiful and secretly pagan daughter of the Eadlorman of Somerset has lived in an environment of love and acceptance. She hasn't yet found a man to make her heart race, but her father has not pressured her to get married. Until now. With whispers of war threatening their land, her father forces Avelynn into a betrothal with Demas, a man who only covets her wealth and status. The dreaded marriage looming, she turns to her faith, searching for answers in an ancient ritual along the coast, only to find Alrik the Blood-Axe and sixty Viking berserkers have landed.
Alrik is unlike any man she has ever known, strong and intriguing. Likewise, he instantly falls for her beauty and courage. The two stumble into a passionate love affair, but it's more than just a greedy suitor who will try to keep them apart.
As the Saxons and Vikings go to war, Avelynn and Alrik find themselves caught in the throes of fate. Can they be true to their people as well as to each other?
ATTENTION FANS OF History channel’s VIKINGS: This is the book you have been waiting for.
And now for the funny part. I couldn’t handle The Vikings show and unfortunately, Avelynn just wasn’t the book for me. That being said, I think a ton of people will really enjoy this book. It has a powerful female lead and there are strong feminist currents to the novel, which I loved, but I just couldn’t get into the romance. It almost seems like men were the author’s target audience, which is odd considering the strong female lead, and that may be why I didn’t connect with the characters and the romance. However, the lusty scenes between Avelynn and the mysterious Viking she meets on a moonlit night will set ships sailing into the sunset for many a reader.
I liked the general story even if it was a bit predictable, and the historical setting was successful at transporting me to the 9th century. The biggest win for me with this book was the way the main female character (who is secretly Pagan) basically tells the newly patriarchal and ”Christian” men in her tribe to shove it. The analysis of how the transition from the Pagan faith to the Christian faith effected men and woman differently was really intriguing.
So, if you like steamy romance set among stolen moments in the woods and the feelings of rage and anxiety that come along with war among ancient peoples where women were often used as pawns or as the spoils of war, then this book is definitely for you. Oh, and of course, like I said earlier. If you dig the Vikings show, you will love this book.
And just for fun:
Here’s the Vikings season one trailer to put you in the mood:
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