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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Viking In Love by Sandra Hill

Viking In Love by Sandra Hill
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (359 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

She said . . .

Caedmon of Larkspur is the most loathsome lout I have ever encountered! When my sisters and I arrived at his castle, we were greeted by servants and children running wild, while Caedmon lied abed after a night of ale. No doubt there will be another child soon, because I must admit he's as handsome as he is virile. And I must endure him, for we are in desperate need of protection, though I can only imagine what this knight will demand of me in return . . .

He said . . .

After nine long months in the king's service, all I wanted was peace . . . not five Viking princesses running my keep. And the fiery redhead who burst into my chamber that first morning is the worst of all. Why, I should kick her out . . . but I have a much more wickedly delightful plan for Breanne of Stoneheim, one that will leave her a Viking in lust.

Warning: Do not drink or eat while reading this book lest you snort or spew the contents of your mouth as you laugh and hold your sides from sheer giggling abandon because, rest assured, this is the funniest romance ever.

I cannot begin to condense the sheer wonder of reading this book in a short review. The characters are well developed with personalities and quirks that appealed to my funny bone. On top of that, is the endearing bemusement and confusion of a fighting man when he meets a woman who is used to taking charge, and he feels love for the first time.

And the dialogue delivery! That style alone is worth mentioning. The internal one-liners before or after a character speaks had me in stitches. The truth of their thoughts being contradictory to what actually gets spoken reminded me of a comedy routine. Yet the doing so never spiraled into jokes for the sake of making a joke. Each and every utterance gives a reader insight into the man or woman highlighted in that scene. It provides depth and personality to the characters without need of POV head-hopping.

Caedmon is a fighting man who has a large heart. He can strategize a battle and swing a sword with skill. He just can’t manage a household. Neither does he know how to handle a horde of kids. He has good intentions and means well, but he’s a guy – clueless. He’s delicious, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed his repartee with his friends, the loyalty he earned from his men means he is worthy of trust, but he is by no means perfect.

Breanne is a treat. She is strong where Caedmon is not so strong. She’s clever and inquisitive. She’s also a sensual volcano. Once she makes up her mind that Caedmon is going to be the man to save her sisters, she’ll do anything to ensure it. I don’t think she expected to find the doing so quite as much fun as it turned out to be. And I’m glad of it because it made for some hot pages when it came to the scenes between the covers.

Secondary characters would be her sisters and the cook. Oh, wait until you get a load of Amicia! Her character had Breanne blushing and me giggling. I had so much fun reading about apples and candles. I don’t think I’ll ever look at them quite the same again. Breanne’s dad is pretty cool. Also, if readers are familiar with previous Viking stories from Ms. Hill, then they’ll be in for a treat because there are important cameos from some of those characters. I love it when Ms. Hill does that.

I’d be remiss in not mentioning the drama and external conflict. The king is a lech and the archbishop is a power hungry narcissistic fool who sucks lemons and prunes for fun. Okay, so he doesn’t really, but he acts like it. He was very convincing as someone to fear in this story and I didn’t know how in the world the five princesses were going to escape his evil clutches. Oh they have a plan and here come the snickers and guffaws again. I have to hand it to Ms. Hill, she has original heroines.

Viking in Love is an absolute joy to read. I was entertained by the growing romance between Caedmon and Breanne. I found the pace of the plot and story consistently well-written and I can assure fellow readers that this book is going on my keeper shelf, to be read on those days when I want to smile and feel good, especially when life throws lemons – or apples with holes. *wink*