Author: Marissa Campbell
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin’s Press)
Genre: Historical Romance
Setting: England in the 9th century
Blurb: One extraordinary Saxon noblewoman and one fearless Viking warrior find passion and danger in this dazzling and sensuous debut.
From Me: I read this novel as an arc from NetGalley.
Avelynn is a story about a young Saxon woman chomping at the bit to form her own destiny. She wants to choose her own path, whether it is choosing her own husband, her own religion, or making choices for her father’s people. It’s an intriguing story and, with the factual history thrown in the mix, an interesting read. However, the emphasis should definitely be placed on romance rather than historical.
I just didn’t find a whole lot about this book that I liked. I thought Avelynn’s headstrong attitude and freedoms she was given unrealistic for the times. Additionally, the author obviously researched the time period in which she set her novel, including historical events and leaders in her story, then she throws in modern vernacular and speech that just didn’t fit in with the setting. I don’t expect the dialogue to full of “Ye Olde English” but I do expect an author to exclude modern idioms. The dialogue read as modern English, in my opinion.
Additionally, a lot of emphasis was placed on Avelynn’s religious bent towards Wicca and druidism. The scenes in which she “practiced” her religion detracted rather than enhanced the story. I skimmed those paragraphs just wanting to get back to the story.
In the end, I’m glad this was an ARC and not a book that I bought in the bookstore. The plot twists were predictable and the author tried adding too many themes to her novel so that it made it hard to pinpoint what this book was really about. Romance? Religion? Saxon history? The war between the Saxons and Vikings? Relationships with secondary characters? I’m not sure.