I hate when this happens, where all my GR friends love a book and I just don't like it. I hate to be one who poopoo's a book. I'm sorry guys! This just wasn't for me, I guess.
2.5 - 3 stars *wince*
I did really like the way it was written. It wasn't very fluffy, compared to what I would call a 'bodice ripper'. The sex was hot and I didn't feel like the terminology was overly cheesy. It was a beautiful love story, and there were so many moments that I laughed or smiled at the antics of Wolf and Cymbra. I also thought that the author really tried to keep the spirituality of the Vikings, and tried to show the brutality of their world without losing the 'romance novel' quality. I can easily see why so many loved this story.
Unfortunately, here's what I didn't like: I felt like the harshness of the world was really toned down. Maybe it's not fair of me to say that as it is usually toned down in a romance novel, but I was really hoping that she wouldn't hold back and just tell it like it was and I'm not sure that think she did. I picked this up hoping for something closer to Outlander in terms of having the characters react in a way that was realistic to the times. I know that so many people were angry that Jamie spanked Claire, but that is exactly what would have happened in the 18th century (or worse). I wanted to see Wolf act like a true Viking and while I was told how dangerous he was, with the exception of one scene, I never really felt like we saw it. Cymbra's beauty and generosity tamed him at first sight and I just didn't buy it, I guess. In fact, I found it funny that Wolf didn't kill anyone when he took Cymbra from her home. I understand he wanted an alliance, but I just couldn't believe that a group of Vikings would come and not one person would die.
Maybe my problem is that I read The Lord of Hawkfell Island, many many times as my paperback is literally falling apart, and I can't help but compare the two. Very similar stories... in this one the Viking lord Wolf steals Cymbra to take revenge on a slight he believes her brother committed against him by very rude refusal to enterain a marraige between him and Cymbra. In Lord of Hawkfell Island the Viking lord Rorik comes to kill Mirana's brother in revenge for the death of Rorik's wife and children. He winds up stealing Mirana instead. Granted, one is WAAAY worse than the other, lmao. BUT, the point remains that these two men do not know these women at all. Both women were beautiful, compassionate, well bred... Wolf took one look at Cymbra and immediately wanted to cherish her, but with Rorik those feelings came slowly and in the beginning he was cruel and rough. It was definitely toned down in Hawkfell Island also because it's also a romance novel first, but I feel like Catherine Coulter held back LESS. Rorik does things in her book that upset you, I won't get into it in case you read it, but they WERE a brutal people and at the onset he acted like a brutal man. They didn't often show mercy.
One last thing before I stop being such a drag, I didn't like how Wolf found himself praying to the Christian God, and it bringing him peace. I recognize that this book takes place at a time where Vikings were changing but I really felt that it was gratuitous and didn't fit into the story at all. There was no reason to have this quick little scene in the book other than perhaps the author herself is Christan and wanted to... I don't know, put a leaning on which belief system was the better. I also felt the same when Cymbra would argue with Wolf about their legends and whatnot, I felt like the author showed a slant toward Christianity, though that was more acceptable for me because it was between two characters who had different views.
Anyway, for what it's worth, I recognize that just because I wasn't as much a fan others may like it much more than I did.