Viking warrior. Dauntless leader. Protective mother. Determined to rise above her rank as the illegitimate “forest child” of Eirik the Red, Freydis launches a second voyage to Vinland to solidify her power and to demand the respect she deserves. She will return home with enough plunder to force her brother, Leif, to sell her the family farm in Greenland. But nothing can prepare her for the horrors she must confront in Vinland . . . and nothing can stand in her way when her family is threatened. In her race to outrun the truths that might destroy her, Freydis ultimately collides with the only enemy she cannot silence — her own heart. Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life.
Heather Day Gilbert, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. Heather is a graduate of Bob Jones University, and she and her husband are raising their children in the same home in which Heather grew up.
Heather’s Viking historical novel, God’s Daughter, is an Amazon Norse Bestseller. She is also the author of the bestselling A Murder in the Mountains mystery series and the Hemlock Creek Suspense series. Heather also authored the Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher.
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Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert is the second novel in her Vikings of The New World series. Yes, Vikings! Based on Icelandic Sagas written hundreds of years ago, Gilbert manages to shed light on a woman obscured by history and bring her struggles, fears, and victories into the 21st century. Freydis emerges as a character very different from today’s women, but also very similar. Well-written, impeccably researched, and a story with Vikings! Yes, this novel is a must-read.
Forest Child opens in the New World settlement known as Vinland. Freydis, her husband, her men and a band of Icelanders have arrived to harvest the wealth of an unexplored land. The 11th century is full of pagan rites, ruthless revenge and a glimmer of faith. With a first person, present tense perspective, the reader is thrust into the action. Freydis is a remarkable character — ruled by insecurities and the desire to have a place, she is also intelligent, a leader and a warrior. She has a strong personality that keeps her safe, but also alienates those around her. Her fierce passions lead her to extreme measures that lead to betrayal and banishment.
If Forest Child was just a tale of Viking mayhem with a female lead character, it would be a fun read. But Freydis meets God and her world is upended. A woman who does everything all the way, she fully embraces her Savior. Yet her past and personality are often at odds with her new faith. And her present brings with it trials. Sounds so very familiar. How many new believers struggle with past sins that are forgiven and with an old nature at odds with a new creation? I loved that Freydis grew into the woman God created — a woman who had distinct God-given talents and gifts that could be tempered and refined by Him.
With great historical detail, a flawed and intriguing main character, and again, Vikings!, Forest Child is a highly recommended read.
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(Thanks to the publisher for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)