The Very Virile Viking
Sandra Hill has written some enjoyably humorous Viking romances, though they are not without fault. She sometimes strains too hard for humor and upon occasion has created shrill heroines. But The Very Virile Viking suffers from none of these flaws. Funny without being silly, it features a smart, funny, and likable heroine. As for the hero – what a darling!
It’s the year 1000 A.D. and we are on the farm of Magnus Ericson. Magnus loves women and since he is a very virile man he has lots of progeny. Four wives, six concubines, and a few passing fancies have left him with thirteen childen, eleven of them living. At the beginning of the novel, Magnus’s oldest daughter has married, his oldest son has taken over his grandfather’s estate and Magnus is feeling restless. So he packs up the remaining nine children and sails off with the intent of looking for his lost brothers Rolf (from The Last Viking and Jorund (from Truly, Madly Viking).
Meanwhile in southern California, Angela Abruzzi is trying to save the family wine-making business, Blue Dragon Vineyards. She has poured in lots of money from her successful real estate business and is trying to persuade a movie producer to film on the estate. Said producer is in the process of filming a Viking epic and he and Angela are both shocked to see a ferocious-looking man suddenly appear on the set dressed in full Viking regalia, complete with sword. (However, the baby in his arms and the crowd of children clinging to him kind of spoil the effect).
Angela takes Magnus and his children to Wal-Mart for some clothes (she thinks they are lost tourists), then to the vineyard where Magnus is in heaven (remember, he is a farmer). He keeps referring to Angela as his destiny, and being a virile man wants her badly. She is attracted to him as well, but Magnus doesn’t want any more children. Imagine what happens when he finds out about birth control.
Though this is a very funny romance, very logical readers will likely have permanently lifted brows since little of the story stands up to close examination. Magnus is transported to the 21st century thorough the power of prayer (courtesy of Angela’s grandmother). He (and his children) learn English almost immediately. When they realize that they are here to stay, they get new identities (courtesy of a slightly shifty private eye) so easily that it boggles the mind. And Angela accepts all this with nonchalance.
But I didn’t mind at all because the characters are so lovable and the book itself so funny – having read more than a few comedic duds recently, Hill’s ability to write funny is something to be appreciated. Magnus is such a endearing man. Yes, he is a bit overbearing, and he still has his Viking of Slut moments, but Magnus is as good-hearted as they come, and truly loves his children. At one point, Angela realizes that some of the women in his past may have taken advantage of his good nature to foist other men’s children on him, but Magnus says that he has taken them under his shield and as far as he is concerned, they are his. The scenes with his children are sometimes humorous (he really loves disposable diapers) and sometimes touching, especially when he realizes that modern medicine can help his son who has a club foot.
Angela is as endearing as Magnus. She is smart, competent and has a wonderful relationship with her grandmother who owns the vineyard. She loves Magnus’ children as much as he does, and the conflict comes about when she tells him she wants a child. They have a misunderstanding, but not a silly or big one.
The Very Virile Viking is exactly the kind of comedy I love. The situations are funny, the characters are loveable, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole book. I hope Sandra Hill will find some more Vikings in Magnus’s village – I really love those guys!!