(Northworth Sagas, #2)
Heart’s ease is the second installment in The Northwomen Sagas, following God’s Eye.
When raiders from the North land in Olga’s world and take it over, she is captured and made a slave. She and her people suffer at the hands of creatures that seem more beasts than men, and not even her talent and skill as a healer can help them.
But one barbarian, big and golden, seems different from the others. He doesn’t revel or partake in the suffering of the new slaves, and, when he learns that Olga is a healer who knows some of their words, he releases her from her bonds.
The raiders stake claim to Olga’s world and mean to settle it, and she and the rest of her people who survived make a new community with the invaders. The barbarians who destroyed her world and made her a slave grow to be her friends and her equals.
The friendship she forms with the one who cut her bonds is the deepest of them all.
Leif is a valiant and esteemed warrior who’s raided for many summers. As a leader in this new world they mean to settle, he forges deep, close ties with those who’d been only allies, and sometimes enemies, and with the native people of this new land.
In particular, he’s drawn to the dark-haired healer, whose tiny body holds the will and spirit of a mighty raider.
Leif is deeply loyal to the jarl who’s treated him as a son. When the jarl arrives to view their success, Leif struggles to understand the ways his mentor has grown cruel and deceitful and to see the man he’s loved as a father, whose sons he loves as brothers. But he recognizes the brutal lies for what they are.
Torn between the man to whom he’d long ago sworn his unconditional fealty and the friends to whom he is devoted, Leif makes a devastating choice, trying as best he can to save those he loves, at any cost to himself. Even at the cost of their love for him.
The consequences of his choice are severe. Perhaps too severe to allow forgiveness.
But until there is forgiveness, there can never be ease.
Note: explicit sex and violence.
FOUR POINT FIVE STARS
“Loss and gain. Dark and light. Pain and joy. Such was life. It was the way of things. The world kept its balance.”
Wow, Heart’s Ease really was an emotional read. The depths these characters endured made me glad I didn’t live back then. The opening scene where the village is raided and the women are being treated as casualties of war was a brutal representation to what it must have been like during that time period.
Heart’s Ease has so much loss and hardships balanced by the love and trust among Olga and Leif. The beauty of their relationship eased the harshness of their situation. Both lost loved ones and yet they were able to find an inner strength to continue on.
I really enjoyed this book even though I know nothing about Vikings. Some of their practices were beyond comprehension for me and I’m glad they aren’t still performed today.
Heart’s Ease is set during the Viking Age. It’s the second book in Northwomen Sagas and the main characters in book 1 play a big role in Heart’s Ease. To grasp the overall arc of this series it’s recommended you read them in sequential order.
P.S. Fans of Ms. Fanetti books … there’s a fan page on Facebook, here.