Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday, What am I reading? #5


Its been a while, but its time for that Meme again from the Book Journey website. Pleasure reading time has been somewhat limited at times (an hour or two here or there), what with my MA Studies and, well general life.

At present I have two 'currently reading' titles on the Christian Fiction list. The first: 

God's Daughter, Vikings of the New World Saga Book One by Heather Day Gilbert
October 29th, Self-Published  

One Viking woman. One God. One legendary journey to the New World.

In the tenth century, when pagan holy women rule the Viking lands, Gudrid turns her back on her training as a seeress to embrace Christianity. Clinging to her faith, she joins her husband, Finn, on a voyage to North America.

But even as Gudrid faces down murderous crewmen, raging sickness, and hostile natives, she realizes her greatest enemy is herself--and the secrets she hides might just tear her marriage apart.

Almost five centuries before Columbus, Viking women sailed to North America with their husbands. God's Daughter, Book One in the Vikings of the New World Saga, offers an expansive yet intimate look into the world of Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir--daughter-in-law of Eirik the Red, and the first documented European woman to have a child in North America.

I'm with the author in thinking it sad that mainstream Christian Publishers don't have much time for books set in the Medieval period- probably because I'm a Medievalist, and I love the period so much. For a self-published title, Heather has done well, well indeed.
Though I must admit, the Vikings are not my favourite people, (more a fan of the Saxons)  but the author Heather did ask me to be an 'advance' (rather behind actually) reader for her book, and I was interested. So just under halfway through, what are my thoughts?
Its good generally, and I think realistically portrays the struggles of the Viking settlers in the new world. That said, I'm finding it a little hard to keep up sometimes, with this character and that, and perhaps the pacing of things. Perhaps rapid reading of some passages has that effect...

Can't help thinking there's something a bit odd about Gudrid and her 'wolf' though, which seems to have an uncanny ability to know when something dangerous or bad is going to happen.
Also, I have noticed a few modern Americanisms in Gudrid's first person narration, but I suppose that's to be expected in a way- and this Medievalist can have far too high standards sometimes. 
Second up is: 

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears 
 October 31st, Bethany House 

A Tender Tale of Love on the Prairie Perfect for CBA Readers 

Although Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won't humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again--not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She's the prettiest woman he's ever seen, and it's just not possible she's there to marry a simple homesteader like him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she's determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far-away Kansas.

Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love?

Now again, I must admit, 19th century America is not my favourite period setting for novels like this. I think perhaps it just doesn't have the attraction of Medieval Europe. So what steered me towards this one? I think it was mostly that Melissa has been a long-term follower of this blog, and we had some interesting conversations in 'the early days'. So the least I could do was read her book courtesy if Netgalley, right?

So for its seems quite sweet and lighthearted, good for reading in the late evening coming back home on the train. Also, there's some element of mystery as the female protagonist Julia seems to have a secret she's ashamed of regarding a former relationship.
I'm only about a quarter of the way through this one, so need to finish before it expires. 

That's my contribution for today. Any thoughts from readers on the above? Or do you just have to gush about your own wonderful reads?


12 comments:

  1. Looks like some good reads! God's Daughter really caught my eye.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Sheila

      God's Daughter is- out of the ordinary for its genre, to say the least.

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  2. I think God's Daughter looks interesting, I've always been fascinated by the subject of Viking voyages to N. America. And a Viking turning to Christianity sounds like a great story.

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    1. Yes, I don't think its a subject that has received an awful lot of attention in Fiction, and so could make for a good story.

      The Christianity aspect is also good- though I would say that the heroine Gudred's outlook does seem a little modern sometimes. Anyway, I might be finished with the book in the next few days, so there should be a review up here soon.

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  3. Have a great week. Good Luck with your studies.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks.

      If I were to include my reading (in whole or parts of books) for that this post might be considerably longer.

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  4. A Bride for Keeps looks good. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks. Its seems quite good at the moment though I'm only a quarter through.

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  5. Um, I like A Bride for Keeps, but I'm biased. ;p Being the first book I wrote, it's special that way, and I've learned a lot since then.
    I was just talking on another blog that I'd love to write Medievals and a commenter said that's what they stay away from . . . . . silly people!

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    1. Well of course, its your baby, your firstborn so to speak. So I'll try not to be too harsh! (he he he). No seriously, I've not seen anything I really couldn't get on with in it, I'm just not enormously keen on the period setting of 19th century America in general . Perhaps I just don't identify with it very much.

      I'd like to write Medievals too but- sometimes as a reader I wonder if my standards are too high. I know that you guys tend to call trousers 'pants', and so that's to be expected in a book, but I still don't like a Medieval character saying that somehow.

      So whilst I don't entirely agree with the notion of 'staying away' from Medievals, perhaps in some ways I can understand why some might want to steer clear at least of writing them.
      Its said 'the past is a foreign country' and I think it must be rather hard to accurately and realistically write about a time period, place, its people and customs that you're not familiar with.
      Maybe that's why I personally find I rarely like Medievals enough to give them 5 stars?

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    2. When you first announced it somewhere I put it on my Amazon History wishlist so if I ever need history of that time period I'd remember your book. I'll have to think of some focused places to share it for you, didn't think about that.
      Congrats, btw

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