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Joan Van Nuys
Hard Shell Word Factory
ISBN: 1582000484 
(Paperback  ASIN: 0843928891 / rewrite as eBook)

Category: Historical Romance 
Reviewed by CYoTE

Let me say that I enjoy a love story with a quest and where “love conquers all”.  The fact is, if you are reading a romance novel, you are reading for entertainment.  What would not be acceptable in another genre – the suspension of reality – is acceptable in a romance novel.   Even so, I found some story events hard to accept.  Ms. VanNuys presented a story that shows the variety of lifestyles during 1012 AD.  The Norse culture in this time period is a cross between settled family farmers and violent conquerors. 

Sunniva Melby’s life is typical and she is a bit spoiled as the pampered daughter of the house.  Her Norse family is prosperous, with customs, family and survival the major directives of life.  Her father watches and worries about her unusual beauty.  When she delays too long in choosing a groom, he chooses for her.   Once his word is given, it cannot be changed much to Sunni’s dismay. 

Sunni had always considered Raven, her brother’s best friend, as a family member, but when he comes back from his Viking travels, they see each other with adult eyes.  Sunni realizes she has always loved Raven and wants no other.  While she and Raven plan to thwart her father’s marriage plans, the proposed groom disappears.  Now there seems to be no hindrance to their wedding plans. 

After a kidnapping attempt, Sunni is sent to the convent for her protection until the wedding.  The morning of the wedding, Viking Rolf Gunnarson kidnaps her.  He did not accept her refusal of his marriage proposal and he wants her for himself.  Rolf’s lifestyle presents the darker aspects of Viking life during this time period.  (Now, here is where you have to suspend belief.)  Sunni convinces him not to bed her until they are wed.   After reaching his holding, she receives aid to escape from another thrall.  Unfortunately, although she escapes Rolf and finds Raven, she ends up in the hands of another Chieftain who desires her for his wife. 

This book does have a HEA (Happily Ever After) ending for Raven and Sunni but you have to suspend reality more than I usually prefer, even for a romance novel.   Except for those points, the characters are true to form and to the time period.  The story reads smoothly with interesting plot twists and action.

Cy Korte / November, 1999
Copyright © 1999 for Book Isle Paperbacks

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