Written by Diana Groe
Review by Susan Cook

Maidensong is a romance novel that sweeps the reader across the Viking world. Rika, the adopted daughter of a skald (Viking poet), and a gifted poet herself, is captured in a raid by Bjorn the Black. Despite her enslavement, she finds herself struggling against her resolve to hate Bjorn, just as he struggles to understand the hold she has over his heart. Just as she grows to admit her feelings for him, and gains her freedom, she is forced to agree to marriage with an Arab merchant in Constantinople in order to protect her brother. Bjorn is appointed escort to the bridal party. Thus begins a journey of peril and passion that challenges their beliefs, their courage, and their love itself.

Although I am not a regular reader of historical romance, this novel seemed to me to offer more than the standard elements. Family relationships are acutely observed, and Groe evokes our sympathies for other characters besides the hero and heroine. The non-romantic side of the plot is well developed, and the worlds of Scandinavia and the Byzantine Empire are richly and realistically evoked. A commendable debut.