Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Lake Union Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 442 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval Romance
Greenland, AD 1000
More than her fiery hair marks Freydís as the daughter of Erik the Red; her hot temper and fierce pride are as formidable as her Viking father’s. And so, too, is her devotion to the great god Thor, which puts her at odds with those in power—including her own brother, the zealous Leif Eriksson. Determined to forge her own path, she defies her family’s fury and clings to her dream of sailing away to live on her own terms, with or without the support of her husband.
New Hampshire, 2016
Like her Icelandic ancestors, history professor Emma Moretti is a passionate defender of Norse mythology. But in a small town steeped in traditional values, her cultural beliefs could jeopardize both her academic career and her congressman father’s reelection. Torn between public expectation and personal identity, family and faith, she must choose which to honor and which to abandon.
In a dramatic, sweeping dual narrative that spans a millennium, two women struggle against communities determined to silence them, but neither Freydís nor Emma intends to give up without a fight.
Freydís is the daughter of Erik the Red in 1000 AD Greenland. Much like her father and brothers, she is fiery and passionate. However, Freydís is passionate about the old gods while Christianity is spreading throughout her people and her family. Freydís' devotion to Thor now marks her as different. She is still determined to make her own fate and practice in her own way, regardless of her brother's or husband's wishes. When the opportunity arises to sail away to Vinland with a man who shares her beliefs, Freydís takes the opportunity to follow her own path. A thousand years later, Emma Moretti has found her path within the Heathen religion of her Icelandic ancestors. Although she has kept her faith a secret since it will likely ruin her father's election chances. Congressman Moretti has run on the platform of Christian family values every election cycle and it hasn't failed him yet. Emma has moved back home this election cycle and has taken an adjunct professor job at the college. Through her class, her faith is revealed and threatens to destroy her and her family.
As a lover of dual time stories, I enjoyed reading about the parallels of Freydís' and Emma's lives one thousand years apart. Emma and Freydís are strong women that show immense courage, they are both true to themselves while trying to live up to their family's wishes. Both women are strong in their faith, even in times of turmoil. I did not know much about the time of Erik the Red and Leif Erikson's voyage other than that it happened, so I enjoyed reading about the journey from Freydís' point of view. I was surprised to learn about the switch in religion in Greenland and Iceland in 1000 AD to Christianity and away from the gods and goddesses. I was also curious about the rise of the worship of old Norse gods in present day. From both sides of history, religion and religious freedom are strong themes. Usually in dual time stories, I am pulled further into one story than the other. In this case, I was pulled further into Emma's plight at first and then Freydís' plight later. I felt more for Freydís's struggle with religion as everyone else turned towards the newer Christianity and she was losing her family. At the same time, Freydís had more freedom with her relationships and was even able to have a relationship outside of her marriage. I felt more for Emma's struggle when her hiding her religion was costing her a chance at romance. Emma's story picked up again for me near the end when she became free in her beliefs. Overall, a wonderful mix of historical fiction and contemporary fictions that compares women's struggles and religious persecution through time. While a lot has changed for the better, Emma and Freydís's stories of courage and standing up for their rights still emanate today.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com.
She also writes myth-steeped fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Amalia Dillin. Learn more about her other works at www.amaliadillin.com.
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