by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Rating:
3/5

The year is 1066. The Normans are invading the Saxon land in the name of the Duke of Normandy (William the Conqueror). I have never ever heard this book mentioned when people ask for vikings (although not strictly related but loosely), or knights, or medieval times, but it should be. It definitely got me curious about the history of these events.

Aislinn is the daughter of a Saxon nobleman, ruler of Darkenwald. Her father in slain by the conquering army and her and her people become slaves to the Normans. Wulfgar comes to assume leadership of Darkenwald. What follows is their struggle to love across all the suffering and differences between their people.

I’ll also leave some safety issues here: outright sexual assault, questionable consent issues, violence

Okay, I’m just going to be super specific about this book so if you haven’t read it yet, please pause here.

Wulfgar I really enjoyed until about ¾ of the way through. I thought it was great seeing him handle Aislinn and protect her and continue giving her all he could, even though he acted like he never would. The thing that got me about Wulfgar was he didn’t care AT ALL, about something he should have cared about very much, given his history. He needed to be argued with by basically everyone in the castle before he chose to make a worthwhile decision, so to me it felt more forced than real.

Overall I liked Aislinn’s character. Strong and she cared so much about her people and was able to charm most everyone she met. I did get rather annoyed with tantrums after awhile. I could understand them but I think reading that she as stomping her feet just changed the image in my head in to a spoiled little girl not getting her way. Which of course her situation was so much more than that, but still it’s just what stuck with me after awhile.

It may have just been the style of an older novel but I found this book a liiiiittle hard to get through. The fact that it’s over 500 pages and like size 5.8 font I just felt like it was a chore to read, literally, not the writing was bad but maybe my eyes need new glasses or something, haha. I did find it rather dry in some parts and just so much unnecessary…stuff. There’s so much description, yet I wasn’t getting the best view of the scenery. There was character depth, but it could have been so much deeper. To me, it barely went beneath the surface. I should have had more feelings for both the main characters. I felt like there was just a lot that could have been cut down and the story would have had the same depth and feeling.

Now. For feels. Gwyneth. Wow. That lady had me feeling rage. But it also annoyed me because Wulfgar leaves and I’m left with basically a medieval episode of mean girls. It was just non stop. The fact that no one slapped Gwyneth, punched her, threw food at her, chased her out of the castle with spears just made me angry. You have to wait a long long time for any remorse from her. It did bring something to the story but I felt like so much of the story was Gwyneth fighting with Aislinn instead of Aislinn and Wulfgar’s love.

Last thing I’d like to complain about is how the title has “the Dove” in it, which I would assume stands for Aislinn yet RAGNOR is the one that calls her that repeatedly. Just eww.

I give ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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