Friday, October 14, 2011

New Review: The Enchantment by Betina Krahn – Brilliant Viking Romance!

I have come to appreciate Betina Krahn's attention to historic detail in her well-told romances. She spends time with each description, each is truly excellence in romance writing. At 400+ pages, you get a well-woven tale with this one as she spends time in developing characters so that you have a good feeling for who they are, the way they look at the world and the customs of the time they observed. I loved it.

This is a Viking romance that takes you back to the late Viking period when the Swedish Vikings sailed all the way to Byzantium. It was also a time when the old Asa (pagan) gods were being replaced by Christianity and the "White Christ." Krahn treats the subject with great care, showing us how the old often combined with the new as the people's beliefs slowly changed over time.

Since she was a young girl, Aaren, daughter of Serrick, was told she was unusually tall and strong, trained to be a warrior, a battle-maiden, and not a woman of the hearth, because her mother was a Valkyr, a daughter of the Viking gods. She is beautiful with a long, lean body, dark red hair, and golden eyes. Aaren has two beautiful sisters, also daughters of Serrick, and born from another, blond Valkyr. Knowing he is dying, Serrick brings his three daughters to the village of Borger, a powerful jarl, and gives them in payment of his tax debt--but with conditions. No man may touch them or wed them until one man can defeat Aaren in sword fighting; then each may be given in marriage. Borger accepts the payment and the conditions with his eldest son, Jorund, in mind. Jorund is a huge, handsome Viking, who two years ago tired of battle lust and the "dew of wounds" (blood). Jorund has no intention of fighting any woman, but after Aaren defeats two of Borger's best warriors, Borger decrees that no man may fight Aaren save Jorund. Aaren wants to end the curse and the condition so that her sisters may marry, so she prods and taunts Jorund into fighting her, but he resists.

That's the basic storyline, and except for the myth underlying Aaren and her sisters' introduction to the village, which myth Jorund doesn't accept since he is a follower of the White Christ, the rest of the story is pure historical romance. It's an unusual courtship, to be sure, and there is more than one romance in this book. As Viking romances go, it's unusual, very detailed and well written. It's not a fast-paced light read, however. You need a good rainstorm, a cup of tea and a fire in the hearth to settle in and enjoy this one. I highly recommend it.


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