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Friday, 11 October 2013

Norse Jewel by Gina Conkle

Reviewed by Shirley

Throughout history, lands have been invaded, pillaged, and burned by invading armies or marauding bands of heartless, cruel men. Stealing goods, livestock, and humans, these conquerors were often depicted as cruel, unjust men, but occasionally a just, honorable, and kind man was found. Fierce in battle, revered by his comrades, and honored by his king, Haken was just such a man.

Weary of the constant demands of his ex-wife to relinquish her hold over his son, Haken constantly sailed on voyage after voyage to obtain more wealth to buy his son's freedom from her clutches, hardening his heart further against ever marrying again and letting a wife dictate terms. The only way left to obtain his heart's desire, if she is not satisfied with his latest offer, is the Althing, an public assembly to procure his son. With this on his mind and a jaded heart, he impulsively falls for the beseeching pleas of one of the latest group of thralls(slaves) from Frankia. Taken by her gentleness of spirit, organization of warmth for his home, and increasing the wealth of his lands, the walls around his heart start to crumble. Pleased with her work, he gives her gifts, but out of all the gifts he offers,there is only one gift she truly wants, but he is loathe to give it: her freedom. Setting impossible tasks for her to earn her freedom, he contemplates an important question. If she accomplishes these tasks, will he be able to let her go, or does he see heartbreak in his future?

Captured by a marauding group of Danes and taken far from her homeland, Helena refused to give up her hope that one day she would return home to her family and betrothed, Guerin, but the future looks bleak. Tied to a stake in a Danish marketplace, only two choices are open: be sold to Gudred, when he returns,a warrior who has already scarred her face, or be bought by another. Spying Haken, a Norse chieftain, she pleads for him to buy her, but when he walks away, her heart plummets. Hearing Gudred's horse's hoof beats growing closer, desperately she begs until he buys her. But has she really traded the devil's minion for the devil???? Dangling her freedom as a prize, he sets impossible tasks for her to accomplish. But the longer she stays and the closer she gets,she begins to ask herself this question. When the time comes to gain her freedom and return home, will it be with a glad heart or will she forever hide a broken one?



Excellent story written with a well thought out plot and well developed characters. The historical element of the tale showed the intense research done by the author into the times and customs of the Norse. Underlying subplots of intrigue, mystery, and treachery gave a biting edge to the story.



I would recommend to all historical romance readers.

5*