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 by Marissa Campbell is the first book in a new series. I didn’t know this until after I finished this book. Avelynn functions well-enough as a stand-alone, but with an open-ending that might leave some wanting more. I am not one of those. At the time I chose this book for review, it was marketed as historical romance, but I think it would be better if it is simply labeled romance or even fantasy-romance. (I’m having a difficult time accepting that this author belongs to the Historical Novel Society.)
If you’re expecting something historically accurate, don’t. If you’re expecting something along the lines of a Harlequin novel, this might be for you.
The story in general did hold my interest from beginning to end, and I enjoyed it enough to give it four out of five stars, but I think Campbell should have put more effort into this story. The timeline left something to be desired by jumping ahead by months at a time, time that could have been spent developing the characters and their relationships further. The characters were not very believable for that time period and there seemed to be a lot of missed opportunities to work in some serious action, such as the Viking raid.
While the forbidden romance keeps the story going at a decent pace, there are a lot of insignificant details brought up. I wish Buckley had sent more time describing the differences between the cultures of the various characters. I would have loved to read more about Avelynn’s time with Druid priestess Muirgen, but it is barely mentioned, even though her lessons play an important part in Avelynn’s life. I also think Muirgen’s connection to Bertram should have been given more pages.
I think fans of romance novels might enjoy Campbell’s series, but I personally think Avelynn is more a coming of age story.