Desert Isle Keeper
Dream of Me
There’s a big mystery at Bantam. They’re touting Josie Litton as the next big thing, but the name is a pseudonym of a “successful” romance author who so far has been able to remain anonymous. If these two books are any indication, the publisher is right to create some buzz. I can’t remember the last time I’ve finished one book by an author, immediately wished for another, and when that one was finished wished I had the third. Since the publisher of this author is giving her a big push on the market I was able to fulfill my first wish and won’t have to wait long for the second. The first two books of this trilogy are being released in one volume to appear on shelves in October. The third book will be published in November.
The trilogy is set in 9th century Britain and Norway and includes slight paranormal aspects. Dream of Me is easily my favorite of these first two, perhaps just because it came first (though I don’t think so). Lady Cymbra is the sister of powerful Saxon Lord Hawk, one of King Alfred’s most trusted men. She’s about to become a pawn to be used by the Norse Viking, Wolf Hakonson. Since Wolf’s honorable offer for Cymbra was rejected in the most insulting way by the lady’s brother, he kidnaps her and takes her to his home in Sciringesheal, Norway. Though his initial plan was to try to form an alliance between his people and the Saxons, he’ll now marry Cymbra, but plans to kill her brother when he shows up to rescue Cymbra.
Though Vikings used to be a staple of romance in the 70’s and early 80’s, they haven’t been seen much in recent years. Suddenly, with the publication of Susan Squires’ Danegeld and now Litton’s books, they have become the next big thing. If you loved those old Viking books, you may not love these. Wolf resembles Julie Garwood’s medieval Scottish heroes more than he does any hero from the 1970’s. He’s a fierce warrior who’s never fierce with Cymbra. He would do anything to make sure Cymbra is happy and healthy. Okay, I’ll admit I’m a sucker for heroes like Wolf, but since he’s written with integrity to fit this story, it wasn’t the only reason to enjoy him.
Though the writing resembles Garwood’s in tone and style, the heroine sets her own tone. Cymbra is Wolf’s equal. She is a strong beautiful woman who knows what she wants and is generally ruled by common sense. The difficulties for this pair come from the society they live in and the people they’re connected to, not from any lack of trust or respect. Though the author does not use the gritty depth that Susan Squires used in Danegeld, she does have her facts right (with a little license used as far as the Norse are concerned).
The minus in the grade comes from the paranormal element that is instrumental in defining who Cymbra is, but is pretty much a non-issue by the book’s end. I’m not questioning whether it should be there or not, but if an author is going to include paranormal elements they shouldn’t fade away as a book progresses.
That said, I loved every interaction between the hero and heroine. The supporting characters were well-developed and written, with the small exception of the “other woman” in the beginning of the book. The setting was different, which added to my enjoyment, since I felt like I was learning something as I read.
The buy links for this book include both Dream of Me and Believe in Me, the first two books in this trilogy.