Mara and Daegan's book
By Renee Vincent
Mara, the daughter of an Irish clansman, was raised to believe the men of the North are heathens - murderous pagans without a moral bone in their bodies. Despite warnings of the Northmen's raids, and the growing threat of another incursion, Mara is continually drawn to her favorite place - the River Shannon.
Dægan Ræliksen, a wealthy chieftain from Norway's frozen fjords, secretly discovers Mara at the water's edge. He is charmed by her beauty and sensuous grace. As the days pass, his contentment with simply watching her grows thin. He can no longer deny his unabated desire for the young maiden. His search for a wife has ended. However, Mara and Dægan come face-to-face in a time when Ireland is in turmoil - when every Irishman is being called up to fight against the Nordic foreigners. In these times of upheaval, how can Dægan make peace with Mara's father and acquire the woman he treasures? Furthermore, can Mara move past her fears and find the noble man within the savage.
I finished Raeliksen three days ago and it is only now that I can sit down to type a review. Even now I’m trying to form what I will say. I feel stuck. How do I say exactly what I want to say without giving away the ending? I never want anyone to read a review of mine and know the ending.
So to attack my conundrum let’s start out at the beginning of the novel. I loved how Daegan and Mara introduced themselves to each other. Who doesn’t love a scuffle to the ground with the hero trying to protect a fair maiden from the mean and evil villains and then the heroine paying back the unknowing favour by breaking his nose? Loved it! I truly love when a hero is saving the day for a strong and able woman. Right away, I knew I was going to love these two together. And I did.
I loved the formula Renee Vincent used for the plot conflict. Daegan and Mara’s pending relationship was not the conflict itself but rather all the bumps in the road to allow them the peace and love that they were craving. There was war, villains, treaties, family, promises, a burial, culture differences heck even the weather was a hindrance for their happiness. I was so pleased to read about a couple that WANTED to be together and their open love for each other was not the issue. There were no immature misunderstandings or miscommunications that are often the formula for romance novels. It was so refreshing to read that the couple was not fighting with each other but rather their circumstances.
Daegan was a Viking hero you love to love. I need to share this bit of heartfelt speech he recites to Mara so that you get a true sense of the man the author created. "I have, from the day I was born, believed that my death would be glorious and I would be chosen among the best to fight each day, arm in arm, with those who have gone before me. And when that day should come, it would be an honor that every man envies, to be allied with the gods against the beasts of the underworld. But the more I am with you, the more I am rejecting the thought of that life. With you in my arms, I have no wish to die in that manner. Not anymore. You have made me believe that love is stronger than a sword arm and more eternal that the last breath of a dying warrior on the battlefield.”
So here’s where I need to make a decision on how much further I need to reveal as to not ruin the ending. Let me just say that Raeliksen is a moving and emotional love story. There are many religious undertones found throughout the novel that spoke well of the time (Ireland 916 AD). I truly liked Mara as the heroine. She was a woman of distinguished courage and I respected her right away. Daegan. Oh Daegan. I completely fell in love with him. Smart, brave, respectful lover, honourable and a true leader. He was the entire package. I would love to ask the author what spoke to her to make her end Raeliksen as she did. That’s all I’m saying about it. If you want to know more, you’ll have to read it.