To Sin With a Viking

Written by Michelle Willingham
Review by Carol Hoggart

Caragh Ó Brannon is starving. On the rain-swept western Irish coast, the grasses are yellow and dry, and the inhabitants are apparently clueless about obtaining food from the sea. Just when it seems things could get no worse, a Viking ship arrives. Caragh’s brother launches a desperate counter-attack for food and hijacks the Viking ship and crew. Meanwhile, Caragh knocks the Viking leader unconscious and chains him up to stop the violence. The remainder of this romance charts the tempestuous falling-in-love of Caragh and the Viking chief and the retrieval of a stray brother, ship, crew and, unfortunately for Caragh, her Viking’s estranged wife.

I have read good Harlequin Historicals before. This was not one of them. The historical errors are not major – they are many and minor (Willingham’s Dublin is a sizeable city, its Viking inhabitants have a propensity to burn human sacrifices, and Norwegian Vikings are blonde while Danes are dark). But it was the story-telling that really irked. Willingham gratingly ‘tells’ the characters’ emotions throughout, the plot is choppy, and character feelings regularly see-saw without coherence. Even the romance is undercut by the author’s determination to make the Viking hero stereotypically harsh. Not recommended.