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Friday, May 22, 2020

Review: Echoes of the Runes

Title: Echoes of the Runes
Author: Christina Courtenay
Publisher: 10th March 2020 by Hachette Australia/Headline Review
Pages: 368 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction, romance, Vikings
My Rating: 3.5 crowns

The pacy, evocative and romantic new dual-time novel from Christina Courtenay is perfect for fans of Barbara Erskine, Diana Gabaldon and Vikings.
Their love was forbidden. But echoed in eternity.
When Mia inherits her beloved grandmother's summer cottage, Birch Thorpe, in Sweden, she faces a dilemma. Her fiance Charles urges her to sell and buy a swanky London home, but Mia cannot let it go easily. The request to carry out an archaeological dig for more Viking artefacts like the gold ring Mia's grandmother also left her, offers her a reprieve from a decision - and from Charles.
Whilst Mia becomes absorbed in the dig's discoveries, she finds herself drawn to archaeologist Haakon Berger. Like her, he can sense the past inhabitants whose lives are becoming more vivid every day. Trying to resist the growing attraction between them, Mia and Haakon begin to piece together the story of a Welsh noblewoman, Ceri, and the mysterious Viking, known as the 'White Hawk', who stole her away from her people in 869 AD.
As the present begins to echo the past, and enemies threaten Birch Thorpe's inhabitants, they will all have to fight to protect what has become most precious to each of them...
My Thoughts

This dual time Viking narrative set in current day and ninth century Sweden is a well researched and entertaining book. It reads well with good pace, is rich in both Viking lore and archaeological interests. Add to this romance in both timelines and what you have is an easy read to escape with. 

I found the historical timeline to hold more interest for me. The two main leads - Ceri, a young Welsh woman taken prisoner by Haukr (the raiding Viking) and taken back to Sweden - were both likable characters. At times she was too sweet and he was too considerate (although the author did claim in her notes she wished to highlight the gentler side of Vikings). The present day Mia and Haakon worked well on their archaeological dig site (where Ceri and Haurkr had once lived) and the plot revolving around the il/legal search for relics was interesting. However the link between the two couples I found to be rather tenuous and not fleshed out enough to ring true. Were they supposed reincarnates or just picking up the energy of the site and rings is not made clear and I could have done without that component of the story. 

The research is good regarding both history and culture of the Vikings and present day museums acquisitions. The writing was simple with basic dialogue and some modern concepts applied to the historical aspect which did not sit well. Both relationships (love triangles included) are predictable but there is a good twist at the end - but once again the author tried too hard to draw parallels between both storylines. 

Overall this is an easy romantic escapist read that I enjoyed proving informative, interesting and light entertainment. 

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

1 comment:

Mystica said...

I like dual time lines and the settings as well for this story.
Thanks for the review.