First up is THE ENCHANTMENT by Betina Krahn. I have come to appreciate Krahn's attention to detail in her well told romances…it's excellence in romance writing. I always know I’m going to find a well woven tale that spends time with character development, and gives me a feel for the culture of the time. This is a Viking romance that takes you into the late Viking period when the Swedish Vikings sailed all the way to Byzantium. It was also a time when the old Asa gods were being replaced by Christianity and the "White Christ." Krahn treats this subject with great care, showing us how the old often combined with the new in this story that begins with belief in myths and ends in very real action.
Since she was a young girl, Aaren, daughter of Serrick, understood 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 had two beautiful sisters, also daughters of Serrick, and born from another blond Valkyr.
Serrick brings his three daughters to the village of Borger, a powerful jarl, and gives them in payment of a 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 conditions with his eldest son, Jorund, in mind. Jorund is a huge, handsome Viking, who two years ago tired of battlelust and the "dew of wounds" (blood), so he 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 to her sisters' ability to marry, so she prods and taunts Jorund into fighting her. He resists.
I highly recommend it. It's not a fast-paced light read, however. You need a good rainstorm, a cup of tea and a crackling fire in the fireplace to settle in with this one, but it will be worth it!
NOTE: This was previously released under the title THE WARRIOR’S HEART.