Redeeming Her Viking Warrior by Jenni Fletcher
This is a slightly unusual historical romance, in that it is set in the time of frequent invasions of the Scottish islands, and the ninth century was a time of turmoil on the Isle of Skye where much of this exciting novel is set. Not that much historical knowledge is required to enjoy this book; as with other novels by Jenni Fletcher the characters and their relationship with each other is far more important. It features a neat reversal of roles, where the physically huge Danr is physically dependent on a slight woman who has the knowledge to save him. He is talkative, busy and dramatic, whereas Sissa is reluctant to speak, and even more reluctant to reveal her name to this man who disturbs her peaceful way of life. Both have suffered trauma that will take time to recover from, if ever, and neither are eager to find a new relationship.
The setting is lyrically described, as the weather challenges even the prepared with much rain and dropping temperatures. This is an enjoyable novel with lively writing, some humour and fascinating dialogue. While technically part of a collection featuring some slight overlapping of characters and situation, as this is Fletcher’s only contribution to it, this novel is definitely one that can be read as a standalone. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to read and review it.
The novel opens with a badly injured Danr lying amongst the roots of a large oak tree, unable to move owing to severe loss of blood. In the haze of his pain he believes he sees a young woman, armed with a spear, accompanied by two wolves and considers his past obsession with the attractiveness of women. Hints of his oath to his brothers, and that Hilda was involved in what will probably be his fatal injuries, flash through his mind. Many things about Hilda are soon revealed, including her possible involvement in his father’s death and his anger at her longer term dislike of himself and his twin brother. Sissa meanwhile prepares to help the strange man who she has discovered apparently on the point of death, as she is a silent healer whose own experience of death has overwhelmed her in the past. She cleverly constructs a shelter from the elements which threaten them both, and as he gradually recovers he begins to talk, and does not really stop.
This is a book which goes into a little of the way that politics was personal at the time; that survival and ability would guarantee a place of power rather than legal inheritance. Danr is influenced by his family background and more. Sissa has been well taught but bases her survival on her own skills and understanding of the natural world. Her relationship with Tove is special as she has little or no experience of human relationships, leaving her with some innocent confusion. Altogether it is a sometimes surprising, always fascinating and well written novel, depicting the relationship between Danr and Sissa with all its ups and downs, misunderstanding and stubbornness. This is a lovely read which comes from a keen imagination and a real talent for constructing a story around a relationship which defies expectations and is really enjoyable.
So this is September, and there has been a lot of fuss about the number of books being published this month, some of which were delayed from earlier in the year. I have certainly got a lot of books to review in the coming weeks, so I hope the variety will be interesting- they are certainly keeping me busy! Have you got exciting reading plans?