Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Review: Josie Litton’s DREAM OF ME and BELIEVE IN ME – 1st Two Books in Viking Saga Worth the Read

Set in the 9th century, this special edition contains books 1 and 2 in Litton’s Viking trilogy, a saga of two Viking lords and one Saxon lord who must make marriages to bring peace between the Norse and King Alfred of Essex and to fight the Danes together. In each case the bride they get comes with a special gift. This latter aspect, to me, made the stories seem less serious, giving them a whimsical feel that is not your classic Viking romance.

DREAM OF ME: Well told, entertaining story of a Viking Lord and his Saxon Bride

This first one is a very written Viking story with historical accuracy in the details, the life of the Norse well described and an endearing romance between two strong willed people. I thought it the best of the two and really enjoyed it.

When Wolf Hakonson’s offer of marriage to Saxon Lord Hawk’s sister is rebuffed, he does what any good Viking would—he kidnaps her in the dead of night and forces her to wed him or see her brother dead. Lady Cymbra is a healer with extraordinary sensitivity to people’s pain. She agrees to the marriage to protect her brother and then begins to fall in love with her harsh Viking lord.

Wolf is a worthy leader but not your typical Viking—he’s more of a merchant than your typical pillager. He wants peace with the Saxons and doesn’t plan to spend much time on the wife he had to take to get it. But he is in for a surprise when the beautiful Saxon maid defies him and his desire for her makes him withhold his wrath. She wins the hearts of his people and would turn him into a caring husband. I really liked Wolf and Cymbra together...lots of iron sharpening iron as they find a way to stay together.

BELIEVE IN ME: More Fantasy in this story of a Saxon Lord and a Norse Maid

After the “perfect” couple of Wolf and Cymbra, it had to be difficult to find another that could hold the reader’s interest as well. So, I think most readers will feel a bit of a let down with this story coming, as it does, right after the first.

Wolf’s brother-in-law, Lord Hawk was not pleased when King Alfred commanded him to take a Saxon bride, especially since it was not a woman of Hawk’s choosing. And now he’s further annoyed that his bride, the Lady Krysta is late in coming to Hawkforte. Instead three of her servants arrive: a man who seems the dwarf, a strange woman named “Raven” and a young pixie like girl to whom Hawk is very attracted. Little does he know but the pixie he favors is Krysta.

Very early on Hawk discovers the ruse and the rest of the story is the couple’s getting to know each other and overcome misunderstandings. And, like Cymbra, she will encounter opposition and women who wanted her man. Oh, and she has some special talents that bring in the fantasy element and are the source of her many insecurities.

Hawkforte is an elaborate dwelling, more like a castle than a Saxon thane’s dwelling, but still made for a nice setting.

The action and the tension between the two slows quite a bit in places but still the story is charming and I can recommend it. Just know it’s not the fast paced Viking action story you might think at first encounter, nor as intriguing as DREAM OF ME. Hawk is a very capable leader but without the stormy side that Wolf had which made him such a compelling Norseman.

The trilogy:

DREAM OF ME (Wolf and Cymbra)
BELIEVE IN ME (Cymbra’s brother, Hawk and Krysta)
COME BACK TO ME (Wolf’s brother, Dragon and Rycca)

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