Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Book Review: Norse Jewel by Gina Conkle

Norse Jewel
Author: Gina Conkle
Publisher: Entangled, Scandalous
Publish Date: 17 June 2013

A Viking Romance
AD 1022

Two lives collide when Helena, a captive Frankish woman, finds herself in desperate need. Hakan, the Viking chieftain who takes her, has plans…to lay down his sword and live a quiet farmer’s life.

Trouble brews when Helena, not born a slave, longs for freedom, and the chieftain who bought her longs for peace. They discover one surprise after another that hot Viking summer. But, will deceit and old loyalties destroy what is their greatest discovery…each other?

My Review

Who doesn't love a good Viking romance! Norse Jewel is a great example of viking romance done right.

Helena is captured by the merciless Danes on a raid in her Frankish village. She's desperate to escape the Danes, and turns to Hakan, a Viking chieftain, for help. Hakan buys her, and returns to his home to settle as a peaceful farmer. Unfortunately, other people have different ideas about what Hakan should be doing.
Once at Hakan's home, the attraction between Hakan and Helena deepens and grows into more. But with old enemies plotting, and unrest rife throughout Hakan's homeland, Helena and and Hakan must decide where their loyalties lie

Helena is a very brave woman, she defends herself against the brutish Danes and never loses sight of her aim to return home to her family and fiance. I really admired her determination to maintain her dignity and gain her freedom. But at the same time, I couldn't help but feel that she was far too bold sometimes, considering that she was a slave. If she hadn't been bought by Hakan, and had been bought by someone less caring, she could have landed herself in a world of trouble....more trouble anyway!
Hakan was a great hero, a wonderful mix of fierce warrior and gentle, caring father and man. He wants nothing more than to care for his home and have his son back. He's a very loyal man, shown often when he sides with the King, with whom he has a close relationship. Helena pretty much had no choice but to fall in love with Hakan, because he's pretty perfect!
Their romance was a slow burner and very sweet. I loved seeing their relationship develop, from master and thrall to husband and wife.

I do wish that Helena had realised sooner that she didn't need to return to her homeland and to her fiance, but could be happy with Hakan- although I could well understand her desire to see her family again. I also really liked that when Helena and Hakan admitted their love, she was a free woman and they were on more equal ground.
I was left with a few questions, but I'll have to wait for the sequel, Norse Fire, to have them answered!

I learnt a lot of different things about this time period whilst I was reading the book, it's well researched and the author is clearly a history lover!
Norse Jewel has mysteries to unravel, old rivalries, and tested loyalties, all wrapped up in a sweet romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this, the first book I've read by Gina Conkle, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

*I received a review copy from the publisher, for my honest opinion.

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