Avelynn- Marissa Campbell
One extraordinary Saxon noblewoman and one fearless Viking warrior find passion and danger in this dazzling and sensuous debut
Marissa Campbell's debut novel is a winning combination of romance, history, and adventure sure to appeal to fans of Diana Gabaldon.
It is 869. For eighteen years, Avelynn, the beautiful and secretly pagan daughter of the Eadlorman of Somerset has lived in an environment of love and acceptance. She hasn't yet found a man to make her heart race, but her father has not pressured her to get married. Until now. With whispers of war threatening their land, her father forces Avelynn into a betrothal with Demas, a man who only covets her wealth and status. The dreaded 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.
Alrik is unlike any man she has ever known, strong and intriguing. Likewise, he instantly falls for her beauty and courage. The two stumble into a passionate love affair, but it's more than just a greedy suitor who will try to keep them apart.
As the Saxons and Vikings go to war, Avelynn and Alrik find themselves caught in the throes of fate. Can they be true to their people as well as to each other?
Yet another stunning debut I've read this summer! Marissa Campbell is making me love historical romance and I really never thought I would be into it, yet here I am, eagerly waiting for her next book. I finished Avelynn in one day, friends. ONE DAY. It's been in my to-read pile for a couple of weeks and I had a break in review action and I thought I'd just give this one a whirl when my kids were gone for the week and man alive, I devoured it.
In the story we have Avelynn, a Saxon by birth and she's part of a socially well placed family. She is on the edge of 18, which means she should have been well and married by now but she doesn't want to settle. She's a romantic at heart and she's holding out for a guy who gives her butterflies. Her very practical father thinks this is ridiculous (though hypocritical because Avelynn's mother gave him the butterflies and vice versa, but her mother has long since died so he doesn't see Avelynn's reasoning), and commands her to marry Demas. Which, from the word go, you realize Demas is a skeez and a total dirt bag but the height of his depravity doesn't really hit us full force until the second half of the book. But Avelynn is also a practicing witch destined to be a high priestess, which is strictly forbidden during this time. Basically, if anyone accuses her of being a witch her death will not be easy nor swift.
I want to share a passage in the book that just struck me as relevant to even now, if only in a different perspective:
Ten generations ago, when Goddess ruled the land, a woman was free to choose her mate, even casting him aside if the whim overtook her. But when the Christian church grappled England to her knees, a woman's rights began to vanish. I could own land, and my oath was respected, but decisions such as marriage were at the sole discretion of my father.
Sure, we might not be forced into marriages in most modern societies, but women's rights are challenged daily in different arenas. So from that perspective, maybe that's what got me hooked in the book, so much of the book could be compared to modern politics. If you aren't necessarily a fan of historical romance, if you go into it with that mindset, you might end up really enjoying this book.
Anyways, on a trip to Avalon to visit her mother's grave and do a ceremony to give her guidance on what to do about Demas, she's interrupted by Viking's, who are not fans of Saxons. Just as she's about to be attacked, the Viking goes down and there stands... Viking Alrik.
This is the start of what really is a star-crossed lover situation. Avelynn has to go back because war is looming so they set up a series of rendezvous. In the meantime, Avelynn learns about her family (a start of a family history at least), the losses she experiences are tremendous and your heart just breaks for her, war breaks out, she makes terrible decisions, she puts her life in danger, ends up in the arms of not-so-nice Vikings, all hell breaks loose, someone's penis gets hurt (yes, that happened and I cringed on his behalf), and romance. Swoon.
I have zero complaints about this book. When I first finished it, I demanded a sequel like RIGHT NOW (is there a sequel?! I have no idea but I kind of hope so!), but even if there will not be a sequel, it gives you a fantastic ending. It got dicey, I wasn't sure if I would need to be resuscitated at the end but all is well, I'm alive and breathing. And so ridiculously in love with this book And this author. I'm all in, whatever Marissa Campbell throws at me, I'm all in.
OK, so the book is available on September 8, 2015 so in the meantime, pre-order this! You can find it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I'm told fans of Diana Gabaldon would absolutely love this and I can't say because I've not read anything by Diana Gabaldon (I know, don't judge! It's on my to-read list, CALM DOWN.). But I do know this is a solid historical romance book and you will love Avelynn. I have to give this book 5 out of 5 stars. You know how stingy I am with my stars but I'm not kidding, I am in love with this book.
If you loved this review, share it! If you aren't following me on Bloglovin', I suggest you do so you don't miss any of my upcoming reviews and antics. Happy reading friends!