Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Return of the Viking Warrior by Michelle Styles


The Viking Claims his Wife

Kara Olofdottar thanked the gods when she married her childhood hero Ash Hringson. But this fearless raider has been gone so long, his proud arrogance is the only memory she retains of him. Now she must remarry to protect her lands for her son.

But then, on her wedding day, the conquering warrior returns to gasps of horror and surprise! After all, Ash was supposed to be dead, though to Kara’s starved gaze he seems very much flesh and blood…and less than impressed to find his beautiful wife intent on marrying someone else!

Dear Ms. Styles,

Recently Robin mentioned a new exhibit at the British Museum about Vikings and how it confounds so much of what we think about them today. When I saw your latest book listed at Harlequin I took it as a Sign and hustled to buy and read it. I should have enjoyed this different take on life in 790s Norway. Let’s just say, I didn’t.

Ash and Kara have a lot going on. Ash headed off years ago to seek Adventure and Riches leaving his (unknown to him) pregnant bride to face life with his horrible father. But Kara survived, bore a son, defended him against those who would have exposed the weak baby and now seeks a second marriage with a steady man who will defend her and her son and protect her son’s land. Until Ash arrives just at that moment in a wedding when the question is asked, “Does anyone know why this marriage can’t take place.” Ash unloads a hell of a reason, the ceremony comes to a crashing halt and the wedding feast is hastily renamed a homecoming party.

But Ash’s Uncle wants the land and sulks offstage after uttering threats. Ash and Kara hiss at each other, grind their teeth over the situation and huff around a lot. They talk, they talk, they talk, they argue in undertones, slam their own fists together a lot and then argue in hushed tones some more. They can think a situation to death and strive to repress what they’re thinking until they’ve stood and thought about it a few more times. The plot moves at a glacial pace as these two manage to do very little over the course of the first 80% of the book. Yes, I calculated that.

Every once in a while, the evil Uncle gets a brief mention just so I don’t forget he and his threat exists but basically there’s a lot of very little actually happening to keep me awake. Until finally! Uncle makes his move and I think, “Yippee, some action.” Only there isn’t. Action that is. Just more talking. No, wait… yes a battle! Fighting with swords at last. Alas, that bit of excitement is over too soon and we’re back to Kara and Ash fussing over patching up Ash’s wounds. Sigh… The story ends with more talking and I finish it with the thought that if you’re looking for a verbose, moody Viking novel this is it. If you want some excitement though, keep going. D


AmazonBNSonyKoboAREBook DepositoryGoogle

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Michele Mills
    May 12, 2014 @ 12:41:32

    I enjoy Viking stories so much I’ll probably still give this a try. :) I’ve been reading and enjoying Michelle Willingham’s Viking stories from the same Harlequin line (especially the first one!). And I’ve got Brothers of the Wild North Sea in my tbr….

  2. Linnae
    May 12, 2014 @ 15:20:21

    In other words, you wanted a little less talk and a lot more action? I want action in my stories balanced with the ‘talk’ scenes. Great close-up cover and great passionate expressions on the models’ faces but I think the Viking’s arm looks awkward. :D

  3. DS
    May 12, 2014 @ 15:45:17

    Jayne, if you like Viking info and have not run into The VIking Answer Lady before, then I heartily recommend her. She is involved with SCA and writes a blog where she researches and answers questions about Viking life. She has a a good article on Courtship, Love and Marriage among the Vikings. I’m adding the url but it’s probably going to send my post to the depths of the spam dungeon:

  4. Jayne
    May 12, 2014 @ 17:43:15

    @DS: Ooooh, thanks for the link and the info. I’ll check it out.

  5. Jayne
    May 12, 2014 @ 17:43:53

    @Linnae: Yes! What is with his arm? It looks way too short.

  6. Jayne
    May 12, 2014 @ 17:44:45

    @Michele Mills: I’ve never tried any of Willingham’s books but I remember one got a good grade here from another reviewer. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. karenH.
    May 13, 2014 @ 05:53:58

    And why is he stroking his OWN hair??? Or is he just trying to stretch out his triceps with Kara’s little assist?

  8. Jayne
    May 13, 2014 @ 07:04:10

    @karenH.: He’s had some of his old hubris (figuratively) beaten out of him since he left for fun and adventures but he still thinks he’s sexy.

%d bloggers like this: