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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Viking’s Witch by Kelli A. Wilkins

The Viking’s Witch by Kelli A. Wilkins
Publisher: Medallion Press
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (273 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Scotland, 803 A.D.

About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.

But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence and be used for his ambitions?

After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?

Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other . . . before time is up.

Can Odaria really trust a Viking?

Odaria has never been able to trust a single soul on her small isle. Though she lives as an outcast, her life is relatively peaceful until the village leader, Brennan decides the village needs to be “cleansed” of Odaria’s witchcraft by burning her alive. When Odaria calls down a curse on the village, she didn’t expect a band of Norsemen to come charging out of the shadows, but will the brutal raiders be her savior or her downfall?

Odaria is a very brave and strong woman. She has lived her entire life on the isle where she was. Since her mother’s death, she has been alone in the world, with the other villagers only coming to her in secret when they need her magic to help them. With the way Odaria is treated by the others, I couldn’t believe she had never attempted to leave the isle. However, Odaria is far too stubborn to admit defeat, even when it becomes clear she’s in grave danger.

When Rothgar enters Odaria’s life, she feels an immediate connection to him. The attraction is mutual, and it isn’t long before the sparks start to fly. However, Odaria and Rothgar are both very strong willed, and are constantly bickering and butting heads. Despite their intense fights, Odaria and Rothgar also share some moments where they both open up about some very personal and private details of their lives. Their vulnerability is quite touching.

Ms. Wilkins also did an excellent job of building the sexual tension between Odaria and Rothgar. Though they were certainly attracted to each other physically from the moment they met, they weren’t able to act on it right away. I found the interruptions to their romantic interludes very amusing at times. Consequently, Odaria and Rothgar were able to form a strong emotional attachment. When Odaria and Rothgar were finally able to act on their feelings for each other, the timing felt perfect.

I do have to say that the conflict between Odaria and Rothgar at the climax of the book didn’t feel entirely genuine. I can’t say much without spoiling the plot. However, I will say that Odaria is led to believe something terrible about Rothgar. I find it very hard to believe that Odaria would lose faith in Rothgar so quickly after they had shared some very intense, personal, and private moments.

Still, Ms. Wilkins did a great job of depicting the brutality of the time period. Both the Vikings and the Picts had very cruel ways of dealing with enemies that made me shudder, and I am very grateful that I have never witnessed such violence first hand. I do wish there had been a bit more depth to Brennan, the main villain in the story. Brennan simply comes across as an evil man misusing religion for his own purposes. I can’t help but wonder about the deeper motives behind his actions and what drove him down the path he was on in the first place.

Overall, I enjoyed reading The Viking’s Witch. Odaria and Rothgar are entertaining characters and their romance is beautifully written. Fans of spicy historical romance should certainly give The Viking’s Witch a try.