Series: Northwomen Sagas #1
Published: April 2nd 2016 by Susan Fanetti
Synopsis: Loneliness is all that Brenna has ever known. She doesn’t expect that she will ever even know true companionship, let alone love. People say she was born with the mark of Odin, but Brenna feels it as a curse rather than a blessing. Those who would tell her she is favored by the Allfather are too afraid to look on her; she is apart from her people. Yet she has learned the power of her difference, and turned it to her advantage. She is a shieldmaiden, with a legendary reputation for her valor as well as for her godly gift. Vali is a giant among his people, well-liked and respected. He is of the Úlfhéðnar, a berserker, one of Odin’s own elite warriors, and one of the fiercest and bravest warriors to wield an axe or spear. He is the Storm-Wolf; his strength and ferocity are his gifts from the Allfather. Fortune threw the two warriors together when they were but children. Fate brings them together again as warriors when two jarls ally for a raid into Estland. Again and again, Vali seeks Brenna out. He sees her; he sees the woman behind the whispers. More than that, he will not look away. Vali has not forgotten the debt he owes Brenna from their very first meeting, and in seeking his opportunity to repay her, he finds a lonely, beautiful woman whose quiet strength captures his heart. But the sagas do not sing of warriors who live quiet lives, or of love that does not know trial and tribulation. Favored by the gods they may be, but that does not protect Brenna and Vali from the simple and devastating hardships of their lives. Their reputations cannot help them. It is their love that must become their legend.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Historical romance is a hard genre. For me it has to be historically authentic without reciting dry facts and it also has to be enjoyable without overpowering it with romance. Susan Fanetti created a perfect blend in this genre. She is spot on in every aspect. However I have to admit that I don’t know much about Viking history saves from the couple of TV shows I watched about it. But I wouldn’t call myself an expert. I’m sure Susan Fanetti spent a lot of time researching this material. Especially since her previous books are nothing like this one (mainly MC stories).
The story is stunningly beautiful but brutal and graphic, too. It’s a fragile and pure love story among vicious, killing Viking warriors. These two completely opposite sides of the storyline work well together and the dark and light balance each other out perfectly. I went in blind and the book took my breath away from the very first sentence. This story is an enthralling page turner. I finished in in no time but felt like I could read it forever.
The main character, Branna is a strong, independent and focused warrior woman. She fights side by side with huge and scary men. But at the same time she is quite lonely because most of her peers are afraid of her thanks to her unique appearance. It’s her stigma and she fights really hard to establish herself so people don’t see her only as the one with Odin’s mark but as Branna, the shieldmaiden. She is a remarkable young woman.
Then she meets Vali, the ruthless passionate and beautiful beast. He is the first person to se Branna for herself. He is also really smart, strong and a born leader. Their relationship gradually blossoms out and they are so marvelous together. They are fiercely in love and stick together even in the hardest times.
This is a fascinating story that shows how love can conquer even in this harsh and greedy world. I absolutely loved this powerful historical saga. Everything is perfect in it, the spectacular plot, the colorful and strong characters, the beautiful writing, the entrancing atmosphere and the powerful emotions. The only thing that could be better is a bit more expressing cover for the book. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
※ RATING ※