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In 9th century Cumbria, Vikings massacred a village, leaving only those women and children who were in hiding from the raiders alive. But not all Vikings are murdering, merciless beasts – and those that are not, like to be referred to as “Northmen”. A younger Viking, however, hid Arienh, a girl at the time of the massacre, while she was being chased by another. Confused and grateful by his actions, she put it out of her mind as she single-handedly set about to save what remained of the small Celtic village and its population after the devastation.
But Ronan (a Northman who is half-Celtic) never forgot the girl he saved – and ten years later, decided to settle on the same village determined to find her. But upon seeing Ronan, Arienh sounded the village alarm and thought to defend herself from a Viking by almost killing him.
The whole premise of the story is that Ronan, his brother Egil, his mother and a small band of Northmen, were looking to settle on a land to start a new life and to help his ailing step-father by living in a warmer climate region (compared to Scandinavia, I suppose England would be “warmer”!). Also, Ronan has been in love with Arienh for ten years after saving her from his cruel marauding uncle (a bit unbelievable since the meeting was fleeting, not to mention that ten years is a long time to be pining for who was then a mere girl). But a bunch of wary and defensive women keep the newly arrived Scandinavians from settling down. However, Ronan, Egil and their band of merry men are determined to soften the women up and earn their trust.
The inconsistencies, such as the women playing tricks on the men when they should be deathly afraid of them (aside from their past experience, they are waaay bigger and stronger!) combined with their unreasonable fear of Birgit, Arienh’s sister, being banished by the Vikings from the village, make it difficult to suspend belief for long since the latter is the underlying motive for the tribe of women to drive the men off. But it was amusing to see the ladies confused about their feelings between their fear of being slaughtered (or raped!) and the considerate actions of the men. And having had no men around for a long time only fueled their curiosity about the Vikings, tittering about whether it’s true that Vikings have a large… well, you get it, I’m sure! [giggles!]
It’s easy to fall in love with Ronan really, he’s sooo nice, and although it’s annoying for me to see a heroine with a big chip on her shoulder, it’s quite understandable why Arienh is so distrustful. After all, Northmen or not, her whole family, save for Birgit, was killed by their own countrymen. And Ronan’s tenacity, as well as Egil’s pursuit of Birgit, is endearing. If you’re looking for a quick break every now and then from computer work, it might be worth to have Loki’s Daughters up behind to toggle to once in a while!!