I won a copy of Ræliksen by Renee Vincent from The Naked Hero and finally had a chance to sit down and read it this weekend.
Here’s the blurb:
Mara, the daughter of an Irish clansman, was raised to believe the men of the North are heathens – murderous pagans without a moral bone in their bodies. Despite warnings of the Northmen’s raids, and the growing threat of another incursion, Mara is continually drawn to her favorite place – the River Shannon.
Dægan Ræliksen, a wealthy chieftain from Norway’s frozen fjords, secretly discovers Mara at the water’s edge. He is charmed by her beauty and sensuous grace. As the days pass, his contentment with simply watching her grows thin. He can no longer deny his unabated desire for the young maiden. His search for a wife has ended.
However, Mara and Dægan come face-to-face in a time when Ireland is in turmoil – when every Irishman is being called up to fight against the Nordic foreigners. In these times of upheaval, how can Dægan make peace with Mara’s father and acquire the woman he treasures? Furthermore, can Mara move past her fears and find the noble man within the savage?
Okay, I enjoyed this book. No spoilers, promise!
Vincent painted a beautiful, colorful world with historically accurate information as her backdrop for this love story. Vivid imagery and cleverly written stories-within-the-story keep you hooked as the Irish Mara tries to come to grips with her feelings for Dægan who sort of accidentally kidnaps her to protect her. I love how Dægan isn’t just your average Viking. He’s smart, he’s tired of fighting and looking for peace and he wants Mara.
Mara isn’t just another noble Irish lass, no, no. She’s a princess! Her father is an Irish warlord who is on the fence about joining a group of warlords to push the Vikings out of Ireland. Oy vey. So, our lovely, sexy Dægan has to protect her from marauding Vikings and somehow get her back to her father so he can try to marry her. I was hooked.
Ms. Vincent keeps you enthralled as Dægan and Mara are beset by danger on all sides as well as their own religious differences. The conversion of Pagans to Christianity has always been of great interest to me and I have to commend her on making it seem as difficult and emotionally charged as it had to have been. She also has great secondary characters that you care about, which is always the markings of a wonderful book in my opinion.
It was great. Except…and I’m going to do a bit of foreshadowing here…the end just about killed me. Oh yes, Ms. Vincent, you shocked me to the marrow of my bones. I seem to remember walking into a room and saying “It’s not fair! I’m e-mailing her today!” so if you’re reading this, please look for my e-mail, lol.
All in all, I’m giving Ræliksen two shields up. If you’re looking for a different type of historical romance, give it a read. I also have on good authority, from Ms. Vincent herself, that the sequel is even better. Now, if that isn’t something to look forward to, I don’t know what is!
Note: Renee Vincent has just been signed by Turquoise Morning Press http://www.turquoisemorningpress.com/ and the re-release of Ræliksen will be August 2010. Check out this hot new cover! Be sure to look for it this summer!