Beautiful Wreck by Larissa Brown

beautiful wreck

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In a bleak future built on virtual reality, Ginn is a romantic who yearns for something real. She designs environments for people who play at being Vikings. But when her project goes awry, she’s stranded in the actual 10th century, on a storybook farm in Viking Iceland.

Heirik is the young leader of his family, honored by the men and women who live on his land. But he is feared and isolated because of a terrible curse. Ginn and Heirik are two people who never thought they would find a home in someone else’s heart.

When forces rise against them to keep them apart, Ginn is called on to decide—will she give up the brutal and beautiful reality of the past? Or will she have the courage to traverse time and become more of a Viking than she ever imagined?

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Publisher and Release Date: Cooperative Press 31 January, 2014

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: 10th Century, Iceland
Genre: Historical/Time-Travel Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars

Review by Jill

Jen lives in the future of the 22nd century. A programmer, she has created an authentic virtual reality set in the 10th century Viking era. After entering the Viking ‘sim’, she finds herself caught up in the simulation which transports her back into the tenth century and she wakes on the black sand of Iceland’s shores. There she is found and rescued by a group of Vikings.

At only twenty-two, Heirik is the chief of his Viking clan. Honoured and respected, but feared because of the unfortunate and disfiguring birthmark across his face and upper body, Heirik is considered untouchable. Trapped in the past, Jen, who becomes known as Ginn, finds herself caught between her growing attraction to Heirik and her desire to return to her own time.

I have read this story twice, and have enjoyed it both times, but more so the pn the second read. The developing romance, the spiralling sexual tension, the details and descriptions of everyday Viking life, and the author’s evident research propels this story. The setting in Iceland is a breath of fresh, glacial air. The era of the tenth century is depicted with vivid, stunning clarity. The prose is elegant and the characterisation of the hero, almost unbelievably realistic. His desperate loneliness, his longing for love and acceptance, his courage; all are written deftly and touchingly.

This début is not without its faults, however. The beginning, set in the future, is clunky, difficult to follow and not engaging, and the ending feels somewhat rushed, with things left unexplained. The setting in the future is light on details and descriptions, and the mechanics of time-travel are never clear or convincing. Some descriptions are repeated, and the novel is heavy on the narrative, dragging down the story and flow.

And yet despite these issues I was pretty much in awe of the story and the romance. Larissa Brown is talented, and has a way with words that elicits feelings and emotions in the reader. This is a writer who is well worth reading, and I look forward to more of her work.

For those who enjoy time-travel romances or romantic historical fiction, Beautiful Wreck is a recommended read.

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