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God’s Daughter by Heather Day Gilbert is a must read for historical fiction fans, those interested in Viking lore and culture, or just anyone looking for an emotionally charged and gripping read. It is written from the perspective of a Viking woman named Gudrid sometime around 1000 AD when these fierce warriors were exploring the northern seas. Most of the tale is told from a first person, present perspective, heightening the immediacy and emotional honesty of the story. Gudrid has become a Christian, but as a Viking woman, she still must hold to many of their traditions and is a fearsome warrior in her own right. She travels with her husband – her third even though she is only twenty-two – in search of Vinland, a legendary place of great wealth on the shores of North America. As a Chieftain’s daughter, wife of the expedition’s leader, and the former sister-in-law of Leif Eirikson, she is powerful and respected. She is also favored because of her beauty and must stave off the advances of more than one man since women are scarce, although her own emotional state is often confused and contradictory when it comes to the men in her life. The emotional honesty and grittiness with which she approaches these trials is refreshing. Through hardships, murder, birth pangs, and dangers at sea, we follow Gudrid through the turmoil of life in that time. The book seems historically accurate, rich in the culture and traditions of the era, and packed with emotion charged conflict. This is one of those books I would read again – the highest praise I can think of for a book, and I am definitely going to recommend it to my friends.

 

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