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oung Ealasaid’s childhood in Northumbria was a happy one... until the Vikings descended one night, raiding and ravishing their village. Young Ealasaid is captured but not before stabbing a warrior in the arm and watching her father and friends killed. Taken as booty, Ealasaid is forced to live the life of a thrall (slave) to a vicious king who uses both her and her body mercilessly. His son, Hella, however, has never forgotten the night he was stabbed while raiding, or the beautiful young girl who now serves his father. The king denies his request for Ealasaid, however, and Hella is sent away.
Years later, Hella returns at his father’s death and learns he must wed or forfeit the kingship. There is only one woman that interests him but can a thrall become the kind of queen he needs or will her loyalties destroy all his dreams?
Very well done! Even though this is a novella-length story, the author was able to expertly draw much richness and depth while still developing a smooth and flowing storyline. A bit more time could have been spent developing one’s understanding of Ealasaid’s situation and how her and Hella’s initial attraction and feelings developed but enough tidbits are given to allow one at least an idea. Readers are also treated to a great overview of life among the Norseman of that age that succeeds in being very interesting without sounding like a lecture. The writing paints their lives in subtle strokes that enrich the reading and add much enjoyment to the story itself!
Ruth Lynn Ritter