Saturday, August 24, 2013

TO SIN WITH A VIKING by Michelle Willingham

Publisher:   Harlequin
Date published:   July 23, 2013
ISBN:  0373297505
Genre:  Historical Romance
Book format: E-ARC
Obtained via:  Netgalley
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina

In the year 875 Caragh O’Brannon’s tribe was slowly but surely starving to death. The land produced no grain, the sea no fish. She gladly gave up her portion to her brothers in the hopes that they would retain the strength to continue to try to fish and provide food.

From across the sea Viking invaders came, led by Viking warrior Styr Hardrata. With him travels his wife, Elena not out of love, but out of a need to make peace with her. Theirs is a marriage that has been torn apart by the lack of children and complacency. He at least hopes to rekindle some of what drew them together. The come to Ireland not to vanquish but to find something they have lost. Upon their arrival though fighting breaks out and Caragh takes Styr prisoner. Styr takes in the condition of the village and becomes determined to save it’s people—he will find food for them and, indeed, does.

Bit by bit, day by day, working and living side by side Caragh and Styr begin to care for each other. But he wonders what has become of Elena and is determined to find his wife. Torn between duty to his wife and the growing love for Caragh Styr is on the horns of a dilemma – does he follow his head or his heart?

Michelle Willingham’s TO SIN WITH A VIKING is probably the most depressing book I have read all year. I read for enjoyment, to go away to a different place and time and while a hero and heroine having a dark moment adds to a good story. I love it when an author comes up with a fresh way of devising the couple overcoming that dark time. This book started out with a village suffering famine, the heroine struggling for survival and a couple on the brink of divorce. I didn’t have a chance to get to know and like the characters before being plunged into their depressing situation. I hear enough of that in the nightly news and read more than that in the local paper. I don’t relish reading pages upon pages of it in a book that I’ve picked up to enjoy.

Despite the overwhelming sadness of the story I didn’t relate to the characters. They came across as two dimensional. At times I felt like the author had a check list of elements needed for a romance and added them to the story item by item.

It was a quick read—starting it on my morning commute and finishing it during the evening one. If you can get past the sadness that permeates much of the book you may find Styr and Caragh a likeable couple and enjoy how they find their way to each other.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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