5 Stars Out Of 5
Captivating and Evocative Story!
November 28, 2016
I have been waiting eagerly for the second installment of this saga, and I can easily say, I was not disappointed one bit! Its hard to put my feelings for this book into words Freydiss story evoked so many strong emotions that words seem paltry in comparison. This brave story held me captive from page one.
Freydis, at once both wild and fragile, drew me into her story with her proud self-reliance. Contrary to thinking that I might not have anything in common with this warrior woman, more at peace in the forest with a dagger in hand, my heart found in her a kindred spirit. How often do we mistakenly hold those who love us at arms length, feeling unworthy of such a love? Not only does Freydis feel unworthy of her husband Refs love, but she is sure that she will never be capable of accepting the love of Gudrids God, He who seems to ask so much of her in return. It is much easier for her to hold on to the hate, anger and justification for her actions, than it is to admit her need. Freydis is a complex character, with many facets the juxtaposition of warrior and wife is one she cannot seem to balance she must be all warrior in order to never appear weak, yet recognizes that being a wife, woman and mother is as equally daunting as going into battle.
The setting is vivid and alive. The hardships, and often danger, that they faced in these times add a heightened sense of the setting and time period. The details of how the Vikings lived how they ate, their homes, clothing and adornments, their fierce pride of family legacy and their strong love and loyalty all are touched on here with a deft hand, providing the reader with fascinating and authentic details. No details are sugar-coated; their lives were hard, dangerous, and often violent, but I never once felt like anything went overboard or went into more detail than necessary.
Even though this is a historical novel, issues relevant to readers today, especially marriage, family and feelings of unworthiness are a vital part of this story. There is such a tension found within these scenes, compounded by the exquisite tenderness in the scenes between Freydis and Ref. My heart ached and cheered for them in turns I admit, I havent read about a fictional couple yet this year that put my heart through the wringer as these two did. What a heartbreaking turn of events, yet what a gorgeous resolution readers will discover here. And while nothing ever pushed the boundaries, I did appreciate how realistically their marriage is portrayed.
Certainly for readers who liked book one, Gods Daughter, I highly recommend continuing the saga with Freydiss story. And if you havent read book one yet, I highly recommend them both! Though Forest Child probably could be enjoyed as a stand-alone, I do feel that I had such a strong connection with her because I met her first in Gods Daughter. I am a huge fan of Heather Day Gilberts writing, especially the characters she has created and how they become so real to me. In Forest Child, she has truly outdone herself. I can easily say it is my favorite book of hers to date, and it has a permanent spot on my keeper shelf.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. The opinions expressed here are my own.