Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wonderful Historical Viking Romance

To Sin with a Viking is the first novel I've read written by Michelle Willingham. I thoroughly enjoyed the way she immerses the reader in the sights, sounds, and smells of the ancient time and place, Ireland AD 875. The main heroine, Caragh O Bannon, captured my sympathy early on for her physical frailty and yet held my interest throughout the entire story since she does not let her family's and community's troubles break her spirit or humor. She remains fiesty, one of the main attributes that unknowingly snares Styr from the first few days in her presence. Styr is most assuredly a wonderfully powerful, alpha male whose emotions near the beginning are almost cavemanish! Later, through love and affection, he learns to communicate better, but he always stays strong and in control. This is a gorgeous, Viking character!

The plot takes place through the settings of two or three main cities of ancient Ireland, under the main goal of rescuing Styr's lost comrades and wife, Elena as well as finding Caragh's brother Brendan. This type of "hero quest" lends itself well to the other reason the story held my interest--the sexual tension between Styr and Caragh. I have to admit that I was a little hesitant to read a story that sounded as if the main characters might be committing adultery. I believe that divorce has its place in our modern society just as I know many ancient societies practiced the custom as well. True adultery never actually occurs, although the ideas of fidelity, vows, and commitment are fully explored. The buildup of heat that Harlequin is known for happens almost immediately; however, because of the nature of Styr's previous commitment, as well as his need to break down emotional barriers that would not allow him to think of a marriage as anything but a vow or duty, the tension continues through most of the book without true consummation until he has put aside his previous commitments.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys this historical time period, strong male characters, and feisty females who give as good as they get. I would also suggest trying this novel if you want to see characters who struggle with falling out of love or with the idea of having to stay married in order to not be seen as a failure in society. I look forward to the companion book that will come out soon that will feature Styr's wife, Elena, and her journey toward a new life and new love, To Tempt a Viking.

I received a free ARC from NetGalley for an Honest Review of the Novel!

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