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I’m a huge fan of those retro bodice-ripper stories: you know- the ones with Fabio on the cover and you can SO not judge me for that. They are escapist, they pull at your emotions and deliver some moments with characters where you wish to be able to reach out and shake them because they are being so contrary. I’m also in a huge Historic Romance kick of late, there is something so unique to the world and the conventions that give authors a way to ‘work around’ those, and further develop some depth in their characters to make up for an often rigid society. Well, Michelle M. Pillow has managed to blend all of the elements and return a story that pleases my need for an emotionally charged escapist read in a world built with lush historical details and a bit of angst as the characters fight traditional conventions.
Brant is a strong leader, competent and capable and well respected by his men. Fiery is his nature, passionate and determined, this is all signified with a shock of red hair that graces his locks. He is truly the Lord of Fire, and it only remains to be seen if he can melt the icy reserve of his wife and lady.
Della is cold, yet that is a shell to protect her heart and express her discomfort with her situation. While she appears to use her lack of emotion and reactions to embarrass Brant in the company of others, her utter dismissal of him during their private moments are akin to throwing ice on a burn.
Yet, the two need to learn to trust one another, and find the keys to share the passion that is buried within. And there is where I had a few moments of repetition in the story: there was often a rehashing of their issues, as if neither wanted to learn from the first time around. Those were moments that made me want to shake them. A few overused words that came up often, and a bit too much dithering in interior monologues about their undying concerns, passions or love: when it was abundantly clear to the reader that they were electric and attached to one another, they seemed to take a bit of time to get to that realization themselves. I did adore the fact that this was a veryearly historic romance, based in the middle of the Anglo-Saxon era of Vikings and Wars and Alfred the Great, king of the West Saxons.
Narration in this story is provided by Mason Lloyd, and his voice is unusual for most romances, yet a perfect adjunct to the story. Effortlessly modulating pitch, tone and even accent, his narration never distracts and often enhances the more emotional moments, adding in scorn, disbelief, anger and frustration with apparent ease. Even the softer moments are clearly defined with his voicing, and the rare moments of happiness and laughter are spoken as if he were smiling from within.
This isn’t a smooth run to the end, but the story rarely finds the reader without some sort of emotion from frustration to anger to worry to ultimate cheers as the two finally sort out their communication and manage to come together for a happy ending.
I received an audiobook copy of the title from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I was in the mood for something angsty, and since the Viking series on the History Channel, I've also been interested in reading/listening to something from that era. So, this book delivered on both fronts in this chemical romance through the melting together of Viking Hero, Brant (Lord Blackwell), the Flame, and his "lady-wife" Lady Della, the Cold-hearted.
As previous reviewers have indicated, you will feel a myriad of emotions on this medieval journey of love. It is an emotional, roller-coaster especially for the values of a 21st century listener! Yet, through the many tumultuous emotions that encompassed the experience of this book, overall, I was rooting for a fabulous HEA for both Brant and Della.
This book is about a very conflicted relationship between a couple from different cultures who go through many misunderstandings because they don't share all of their feelings, they speak too harshly and can't take things back due to pride. Della, herself has one of the most sharp-tongues I've witnessed from a heroine. She says awful things to Brant that come very close to fruition. And, even though, most of the time, Brant was the more patient of the pair, he was ruthless in his treatment of his wife (even though he felt remorseful). In this era, it was what was expected. In fact, with all of the brut power and force of the law on the husband's side, it's amazing how much influence and control Della actually held in her manor and with her husband. She is a very strong heroine, despite her shrewish flaws. But, there's always a reason behind the way people act, and Della definitely has a reason for her prejudice and hatred of Vikings. Brant understood this and seemed to really exert effort in making his marriage work.
Despite the tumult, I kept listening because I couldn't stop. Also, the steamy romances between the two was really good. I just wish there was more coverage of the blissful and light moments between the lovers because when they loved it was amazing…..they loved almost as passionately as they fought. Unfortunately, the end felt very rushed and it did not fully make up for the dramatic, violence that preceded it. For this reason there should have been an epilogue. On the positive side, thankfully, there is a resolution to their issues. This story may have a lot of emotionally, crushing moments, but it is very well written. Let me tell you Michelle Pillow really knows how to tell a story, no matter how steamy or chilling.
Lastly, I thought the narrator was excellent. Mason Loyd did a great job in narrating both the masculine, Viking voices as well as the ladies.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful