Breton Wolfe (novella) by Victoria Vane

BRETON WOLFE
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She vowed to defy him to her dying breath… but passion blurs the line between love and hate…

The bluest blood and the hardest heart… at least when it comes to marriage… The daughter of a duke and granddaughter of a king, Adele of Vannes was bartered at birth in a marriage treaty for the sole purpose of producing a royal heir. When her philandering husband is slain by Norse marauders, Adele’s only desire is to retire to the peace and solitude of a cloister—until coerced to wed a savage Norseman. Adele knows that her beloved Brittany needs a strong hand to survive, but how can she ever reconcile her bitterness and hatred with the desire she feels for her avowed enemy?

She’s the jewel he seeks for his Breton crown…A Barbarian bent on building a dynasty, Valdrik Vargr, ‘the Norse Wolf,’ is renowned for both his bravery in battle and shrewdness in statecraft. Setting his sights on claiming the kingdom of Brittany, he knows that siring sons from royal blood would solidify his hold, but the woman he would claim as his queen refuses to have him. Will he fuel her hatred by taking her to his bed, or will the man who strikes terror in the hearts of men be reduced to wooing his bride?

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Publisher and Release Date: Kindle Worlds, October 2015

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: 907-911 A.D., France
Genre: Historical romance novella
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars

Review by Maria Almaguer

Warning: this novella contains one rape scene.

Victoria Vane breaks out of her usual refined Georgian period romance into the untamed era of medieval Brittany in this historical romance novella, part of the World of de Wolfe Pack set and the first in Ms. Vane’s The Wolves of Brittany series.

In a primitive world where men conquer and rule the world, women either accept their often misogynistic and animalistic behavior or suffer in silence. Adele of Vannes, daughter of a duke and granddaughter to a king, is a lady to her core. She submits with grace and heart-breaking resignation to a brutal and dangerous husband who treats her with contempt.

“The men of this world may do as they please…It is the indulgence we must grant them for our provision and protection.”

Adele has already lost a brother and father to the Norse and the last thing she wants to do is marry the enemy; but she has no choice for the alternative is much worse for her people. So she makes plans to thwart Valdrik’s intentions and this causes a rift between them. Both are headstrong and devoted to their people. But both Adele and Valdrik also have honor and kind hearts.

When Valdrik shows her kindness and passion, two things completely absent in her first marriage, Adele eventually softens toward him. And Valdrik comes to see Adele’s compassion and past pain.

The best thing about Ms. Vane’s stories is the impeccable and impressive research. The reader learns about the healing properties and power of herbs in Adele’s stillroom sanctuary, the complex diplomacy in the political maneuvering of Brittany, and the customs and etiquette of medieval culture, however barbaric, sexist, and outrageous to our modern sensibilities! For example, when Adele’s husband is slain, she can be claimed by the victor; in this case, the strong and honorable warrior, Valdrik Vargr.

Some of the prose in the love scenes veers into the purple at times but overall, this does not detract from the story’s flow. The novella is action-packed from start to finish, with equal time given to both the romance and the fight for Brittany. Future stories will focus on Valdrik’s half-brothers, Bjorn the Bastard and Ivar the Red.

This is an exciting and fast-paced story, with likable protagonists and honor amid brutality.

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