**REVIEW** ~ Her Heart’s Surrender, by Allison Merritt

Sensual Viking Romance

Book Blurb

Alison MerrittAfter sneaking out with her brother, Eoghann, one night, Ealasaid discovers Viking ships sailing up the river to sack their home in Northumbria. They attempt to warn their father, but it’s too late and the Vikings slaughter or enslave all the inhabitants of Suibhne. In attempt to save her family, Ealasaid stabs a young Viking warrior, but her father is killed, her family scattered, and she’s taken to Solstad Hall where she serves as a thrall for the Viking king. Years later, the king’s son, Hella, ventures on many raids and to trading sites across Europe, but his desire is to set up a farm in Solstad with Ealasaid as the thrall in charge of his household. He tells her of his plan and they expression their passion for one another. When Hella petitions the king for her freedom, but is turned down and order to the Frankish lands in retaliation for raids on the Viking coastal villages. Ealasaid, aware the king would never free her, tells him that he should look for a brighter future across the sea, away from his father and resigns herself to be his slave for the remainder of her life.Called home to watch his father die, Hella is stunned when his father’s final command is that Hella must marry or the throne will go to his adopted brother. Furious with his father’s orders and worried about being left without lands or money, Hella looks to the thrall who’s always captured his attention—Ealasaid. Ealasaid harbors a secret—the single afternoon she spent in Hella’s arms resulted in a son, her treasure, her reason for living.

My Review

A Powerful Enemies to Lovers Romance *****

Her Heart’s Surrender is a powerful and heartrending romance between the Viking Hella and the Saxon Ealasaid. The enemies to lovers trope is one of my favourite in the romance genre and this is expertly executed by Allison Merritt in this novel.  Once more the romance is  all the more beautiful due to its themes of redemption and forgiveness.

The heroine, Ealsasaid, a Saxon princess, was taken from her home as a child, becoming a thrall to Ingevar, the Viking King responsible for the destruction of her homeland and the slaughter of her kin. She suffers his cruelty and abuse for years, finding solace in Ingevar’s son Hella and their one passionate coupling results in a son, Birgir (a secret that Ealasaid keeps to herself for fear of Ingevar’s wrath). Ingevar refuses his son’s request to free Ealasaid and sends him to raid lands abroad. When Ingevar dies, Ealasaid is stunned when Hella asks her to be his wife and become his queen, yet what of her secret and the effect of years of abuse at the hands of Ingevar? What follows is a truly romantic tale of how Ealasaid finds her true place with the man she was destined to be with, amongst the people who were her enemy. Their HEA is not assured however when the past comes back to haunt them and as their future together comes into question, I could not turn the pages quick enough to find out what happens!

The events in the book and the romance explore a number of different themes; forgiveness, revenge, retribution, honour and family and kinship ties. Given the historical time period, there are many references to acts of violence and cruelty, some against the heroine. This is balanced by the many tender and sensual sense between the hero and heroine, where they explore their growing connection to each other. Indeed, Hella is one Viking warrior I would be happy to call my own!

Ealasaid is a strong woman given all that she has experienced at the hands of Ingevar and she has a sharp wit which I enjoyed. Hella, a strong but fair minded Viking, has always disliked how his father mistreated Ealasaid, but he was not in a position to prevent it. I liked how he sets out to prove his love for her, gaining her trust through his thoughtfulness and kindness. The scenes with his son, whom he believes is Ingevar’s, are particularly touching. I also enjoyed the supporting characters, in particular Erik and Eoghann and Idunna – I very much hope that the author is going to pen their stories some time soon. I recommend this novel to readers of Historical Romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this novel was given to me by the author for a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   Amazon US

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About Tina Williams

Book reviewer and blogger and co-organiser of Tamworth (UK) Literary Festival

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