Monday, January 9, 2017

Review: Kathleen Kirkwood’s THE VALIANT HEART – Great Viking Story set in Normandy

This story by Kathleen Kirkwood, a pen name for Anita Gordon, is a great Viking romance. Set in 912AD in Valseme, France, part of Duke Rollo’s Normandy where the Norsemen have settled, it's the story of Rurik, a Northman.

Rurik's father, Gruel Atli, made Baron Valseme by Rollo, is given the Valseme’s heiress, Brienne, to wife. It seems King Charles desires to cement his relationship with the Northmen and Brienne has been biding her time in a convent. But just after the wedding, Atli suffers a heart attack and dies.

Even before her new husband dies, Brienne fell in love with his oldest son, Rurik. So when Duke Rollo grants Rurik’s request to give him Brienne’s hand, she is thrilled.

The story has an intriguing beginning as Rurik sends his brother, Lyting, disguised as a monk to the abbey at Levroux where Brienne is in training to be a healer. And it was a good thing, too, since Brienne’s French brother-in-law has designs on her to make her his mistress. Soon Brienne realizes it’s the Northmen who seem to be honorable.

Great writing and a story that will draw you in make this a wonderful Viking romance. The inclusion of real history reflects deep research, just like Kirkwood’s other stories (I read book 2 first not realizing it was the second—I do recommend reading the trilogy in order). Rurik is a worthy hero and Brienne does have a “valiant heart”.

If you’re looking for a worthy Viking trilogy of romances, this is the place to start.

Heart trilogy:

The Valiant Heart
The Defiant Heart
The Captive Heart

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