In 1066, the death of King Edward put the right of the English to choose their own king in jeopardy. Normans were set to invade England and claim the throne. The Vikings were preparing to launch raids against the British to grab land and wealth. One tiny island stood trapped between two opposing forces.
Lady Julia Cruithne is left with the responsibility of Aurelius, an island rich in trade but poor in defense, when her older brother is killed defending England. She has to secure the continued freedom of her people – through the meager means available to a woman in Medieval Europe. She believes she will have only her own sharp wits and determination at her disposal, and she must consider sacrificing her own freedom to an arranged marriage in order to keep the war from spreading to her island.
Eric Vandalsson is a man well-used to battle. He has won honor, wealth, and reputation fighting across Europe, but he has never earned the prize he covets most: a home. He agrees to invade England on the condition that he be the first to select lands and a woman from the spoils. Unfortunately for Eric, the invasion is not as easy as was promised, and he finds himself without his prize, without a king, and in desperate need of a safe harbor.
When the war spills over to Aurelius, Julia will forge a desperate, unlikely alliance to protect her people. The huge, taciturn Viking is skilled enough take on any opponent, but Julia did not expect to want to consider him as more than a guard. Eric will protect her from invading armies, but their agreement is tested when old allies become enemies and a new king, William of Normandy, casts his eye towards a rich island and an unmarried Lady. Eric will have to convince Julia that she does not have to give up everything she desires in order to save what she loves.
Pros – so finely written, the give/take relationship of Julia & Eric, the strength of the secondary characters
Cons – slow start, you sometimes want to tell Julia to take what she wants screw everyone else
Spoiler – Its a historical romance with a heroine who wants to live her life the way she chooses with the man she loves. How else do you think this will end if not happily?