Danielle L. Jensen
A shield maiden blessed by the gods battles to unite a nation under a power-hungry king—while also fighting her growing desire for his fiery son—in this Norse-inspired fantasy romance from the bestselling author of The Bridge Kingdom series.
Bound in an unwanted marriage, Freya spends her days gutting fish, but dreams of becoming a warrior. And of putting an axe in her boorish husband’s back.
Freya’s dreams abruptly become reality when her husband betrays her to the region’s jarl, landing her in a fight to the death against his son, Bjorn. To survive, Freya is forced to reveal her deepest secret: She possesses a drop of a goddess’s blood, which makes her a shield maiden with magic capable of repelling any attack. It was foretold such a magic would unite the fractured nation of Skaland beneath the one who controls the shield maiden’s fate.
Believing he’s destined to rule Skaland as king, the fanatical jarl binds Freya with a blood oath and orders Bjorn to protect her from their enemies. Desperate to prove her strength, Freya must train to fight and learn to control her magic, all while facing perilous tests set by the gods. The greatest test of all, however, may be resisting her forbidden attraction to Bjorn. If Freya succumbs to her lust for the charming and fierce warrior, she risks not only her own destiny but the fate of all the people she swore to protect.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(4.5 / 5) Danielle L. Jensen is one of my all-time favorite authors! My favorite of hers is The Bridge Kingdom series (reviews for 1-4 are currently on my blog). This is a close second with many of the same aspects she had in Bridge Kingdom.
Freya, trapped in a forced marriage, is wildly unhappy and dreams of becoming a warrior. In a moment of survival, she reveals a secret she has kept her entire life; that she has a drop of Gods blood. This deems her the “shield maiden” told about in prophecies, bound to unite kingdoms, but under the control of another.
“She will bring us battle fame! She will bring us wealth! She will bring us power! She will bring us victory and vengeance against the bastards of Nordeland! For with her in our shield wall, we will be favored by the gods themselves!”
The jarl that discovers Freya forces her into another marriage, claiming her as his own and puts his son in charge of her protection. As her life hangs in the balance, she navigates impossible situations and a forbidden attraction with the jarl’s son, Bjorn. Of course, these two forced together have strong feelings. The tension is palpable, setting the stage for a story rife with political intrigue, danger, and the weight of expectations.
“You are mine, Born-in-Fire. Even if only the two of us know it.”
Freya’s character is an indomitable spirit trapped in an impossible situation. Her headstrong nature, loyalty, and her challenges create a compelling protagonist. The struggles she faces evoke empathy, making her journey one that was easy to invest in.
Bjorn adds layers of complexity to the story. The forbidden attraction between them intensifies the stakes and the constant proximity adds a tension that left me eagerly anticipating each interaction.
The book excels in delivering a riveting adventure, featuring strong leads and a well-paced rhythm of complications that escalate into intense situations. The enemies-to-lovers trope is skillfully employed, as always, and adds a layer of emotional depth.
Jensen, the queen of enemies-to-lovers, shows her expertise in crafting a tale that weaves together romance, political intrigue, and the clash of loyalties. It unfolds seamlessly, with each page driving the story toward its intense climax.
I highly recommend this romantic adventure full of impossible choices. It is a story that will keep you coming back for more. This one is a must-read!
(On another note, check out that beautiful cover! Special editions are offered on Amazon, link below, but they will run out quickly!)
General content summary:
F words= 39, language
forced arranged marriage
intimacy and birth control (few details, multiple, masturbation and intimate fantasies, “open door” scenes with details 6x +)
physical abuse (married couple, injuries)
fighting (weapons, blood, injuries, multiple, few details)
ax death (few details)
burn injuries (some details)
animal sacrifice to a God (no details)
plant used for sedative/pain control (narcotic)
one man has 2 wives
battle scenes (weapons, blood, death, some details, multiple)
mother’s death (previous, fire, no details)
beheading (few details)
bones of the dead found
attack from creatures (attempted killings)
hallucinogenic tea and mushrooms
village found burning (burn deaths, few details, blood)
hypothermia and frostbite
Threesome intimacy (referenced, no details)
familial death (arrow, blood)
Thank you to Henry Holt and Co for the copies! This is one that I will display proudly.
The book releases February 27, 2024.
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