Marissa Campbell~~ 4 1/2 and 5 Star Reviews
St. Martin's Griffin
Avelynn, the beautiful daughter of Eadlorman of Somerset, definitely lived a rare and privileged life for an 18 year old girl of a wealthy Saxon in 869. Having lost her beloved mother to childbirth, Avelynn was raised by her father who raised her like a son. She could read and write in several languages, and her skill with a sword and knife were the equal of any man. Plus, her father had never pressured her into marriage. Unfortunately, as circumstances changed and war with the Vikings imminent, her father had to renege on his promise and gave her to Demas, who, unbeknownst to her father, was a greedy, cruel man who only wanted her for her lands, and wealth. Devastated by her father's decree, Avelynn escapes to the coast to pray to the pagan gods and goddesses of her mother's religion. But in this devoutly Christian time in England, her prayers must be in secret or she risked being branded a witch.
Alrik the Blood Axe came out of the forest and almost stumbled into the sacred circle of the praying young woman. He immediately knew she was a priestess and, as such, was not to be disturbed in her prayers. Alrik was a Viking and feared by many, but he was also a gentle, patient man when necessary. And he could tell that this beautiful priestess was an innocent, but an innocent that he meant to have. Would he be able to convince her that her fears of Vikings did not necessarily apply to ALL Vikings?
Avelynn is a love story of historical proportions. The heroine is courageous and extremely headstrong, but these very attributes will keep the reader glued to the pages to see what she will do next. Alrik, her handsome Viking, is all warrior; a hero worthy protagonist who awakens Avelynn to the beauty of true love. Ms. Campbell's rich, descriptive passages of the times, cultures and conflicts of the Dark Ages pull the reader into the story with such a compelling force that it is hard to put this book down. The ancient names are a little hard to process, but that just adds true authenticity to this outstanding historical. After living through the struggles and wars surrounding Avelynn and Alrik, this reviewer is sincerely hoping for a sequel to continue following the adventures of the Saxon and her Viking.