Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Review: Johanna Lindsey’s HEARTS AFLAME – Superb Viking-Saxon Romance!

This was my first by Johanna Lindsey but I have since read many more, becoming one of her fans. When I read it, I did not realize HEARTS AFLAME was 2nd in a trilogy of a Viking family (FIRES OF WINTER, HEARTS AFLAME and SURRENDER MY LOVE), but it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone. It is one of my favorite Viking romances and quite wonderful--an engaging story well-told. In a bit of a twist, it’s a Saxon lord capturing a Viking maiden.

Set in the late 9th century when Vikings sailed south to England, Scotland and Ireland to raid, it tells the story of Kristen Haardrad, the independent, strong-willed and much loved daughter of a wealthy Viking merchant (whose story is told in Fires of Winter). Having spurned her many suitors because she can find no spark of love with any of them, she stows away on her brother's ship believing he is headed to the southern coastal towns for trade where she hopes to find a husband. But her brother is not sailing to trade but rather to raid. And he is not pleased when he discovers his sister is aboard, but proceeds with his plans nonetheless. It all goes awry when Kristen is captured and made the slave of the Saxon lord, Royce of Wyndhurst, favored knight of King Alfred.

Royce is a tough but fair leader who is betrothed to a manipulating female he doesn't really want. He fights his attraction to his beautiful Viking slave, but Kristen, who has finally met a man who stirs her passion, has decided he is her "heartmate." Kristen is proud and determined to win his heart and not just his body.

Lindsey keeps you intrigued with rich characters, snappy (and sometimes funny) dialog, great action scenes and wonderfully believable tension between Kristen and Royce. I loved this story and will certainly re-read it.

It's the best of the trilogy and definitely a keeper!

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