By Marissa Campbell
Release Date: Sept. 8 2015
Paperback: 352 pages
One extraordinary Saxon noblewoman and her fearless Viking warrior find passion and danger in this dazzling and sensuous debut.
For eighteen years, Avelynn, the beautiful and secretly pagan daughter of the Ealdorman of Somerset, has lived in an environment of love, acceptance, and equality. Somerset has flourished under twenty years of peace. But with whispers of war threatening their security, Avelynn’s father makes an uncompromising decision that changes her life forever.
Forced into a betrothal with Demas, a man who only covets her wealth and status, Avelynn’s perception of independence is shattered. With marriage looming, she turns to her faith, searching for answers in an ancient ritual along the coast, only to find Alrik The Blood-Axe and sixty Viking berserkers have landed.
In a year of uncertainty that sees Avelynn discover hidden powers, stumble into a passionate love affair with Alrik, and lead men into battle, Avelynn must walk a fine line as her deceptions mount and Demas’ tactics to possess her become more desperate and increasingly brutal.
Avelynn and Alrik are caught in the throes of fate as they struggle to find the way back to themselves and onwards to each other.
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***I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***
Avelynn was a nice breath of fresh air for me, as I’ve been buried in paranormal romance lately. It had been a little bit since I had read historical fiction! This book and storyline in general had me intrigued from the start. I love a steadfast, headstrong heroin who fights for her beliefs in the face of adversity. Avelynn really embodied those characteristics. It was also wonderful to become immersed in that kind of culture. It was definitely apparent that Campbell did her research and put as much realism into the history as she could.
Avelynn is of noble birth and has usually gotten her way when it comes to skirting around her father’s discipline. That is until the day she is forced into a betrothal with a monster of a human being. Hope doesn’t seem to be lost though when she meets and falls for the viking Alrik. However, when war is on the horizon Avelynn soon finds herself making drastic decisions in order to save herself and all that she holds dear.
I was quite surprised to find this book to be so very graphic and grim. It was definitely different from most books I’ve read. This story is not for the faint of heart, let me tell ya. Avelynn suffers through so many trials, it was like the horrors were never ending. I so desperately wanted to see her succeed, but it took most the book to see her truly make progress toward real happiness. Of course that’s what helped to keep me so involved with the content. I was also expecting more of a romance between Avelynn and Alrik and was a little disappointed to find it lacking in a developed relationship. Their love felt a little rushed to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed their relationship for sure, and I understand why the author did what she did, I was just hoping to have had more pages with it. However, by the time the ending rolled around, I was completely enthralled. The conclusion definitely left it open for more. I’m looking forward to see what’s to come in Avelynn’s future! I can only assume it will include more of Alrik!
I would recommend this book to any historical fiction buffs and to anyone looking for a strong female lead they can support and love.
Praise for Avelynn:
“Marissa Campbell brings a long-forgotten era splendidly to life in this adventurous and passionate debut.”—Susanna Kearsley, New York Times bestselling author of The Winter Sea
“Avelynn is a captivating tale of star-crossed lovers. He is a Viking and she is a Saxon. Their struggle to be together will lead you on an exciting journey through a background filled with rich and detailed description.”—Connie Mason, New York Times bestselling author of Viking Warrior
“Marissa Campbell’s Avelynn is a fast-paced, rollicking historical novel whose irresistible heroine starts out as the willful daughter of a Saxon earl and evolves into a warrior and leader, as fierce as she is passionate. – Barbara Rogan, author of A Dangerous Fiction and Suspicion
“A hot-blooded tale of Viking invasion, Saxon valor, and a love that conquers kingdoms. Get ready to be bewitched by the bold, brave Avelynn.”—Barbara Kyle, author of The Queen’s Exiles
Marissa Campbell is a published freelance author, and co-author of the award-winning, spiritual self-help book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. Look for her debut historical fiction AVELYNN, coming September 8th, 2015, from St. Martin’s Press. She is now hard at work on the second book in the AVELYNN series. She is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, TRW, Writers’ Community of Durham Region, and local critique group B7. When she is not writing, she is busy looking after her wonderful children, spending time with her fantastic husband, hanging out with her awesome friends, teaching yoga, dancing, laughing, and having fun!