Long before the History Channel brought us the TV series Vikings, stories of Viking adventure and romance have been making blood race and hearts flutter. When we say “long before,” we mean long before. The Viking storytelling tradition goes back to ancient times, when skalds told their tales of gods and kings around roaring fires. Over a thousand years later, what’s the appeal of these ancient adventurers?
For one thing, Vikings have the market cornered on the tall, blond and handsome angle. What woman wouldn’t like to find someone who looks like True Blood’s Eric Northman between the covers…of a great book? Whether flaunting barbarian chic of their own era or transplanted to modern times, as in Sandra Hill’s two Viking time travel series, Vikings stand head and shoulders (literally) above the competition. Strong, fit, able to fight and :ahem: love with vigor, Vikings fit the bill for readers looking for a natural alpha type.
Love to travel? Vikings really get around. Really. Raiding or exploring, Viking tales aren’t restricted to the chilly north, but expand across the globe, to the British Isles, Miklagard (Istanbul to us modern types) and even the Americas, bringing back treasures from afar and even intermarrying with those from other lands, adding new customs and legends to their own. Though Vikings often enslaved captives, in a romance like Johanna Lindsey’s classic Fires of Winter, the start of her Hadraad family trilogy, it’s frequently the warrior who finds himself—or herself—enthralled.
Rooted in myth and legend, Vikings are a natural for paranormal romance as well. Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe’s Lord of Fire and Ice weaves fiery Norse magic around a timeless romance, and Corinna Lawson’s Dinah of Seneca invites readers to an alternate historical world where Vikings, Romans, and Native Americans populate ancient America.
Readers who like an inspirational or even philosophical thread in their historicals, might want to consider giving Viking romances such as Josie Litton’s two-in-one release, Dream of Me/Believe in Me, or Renee Vincent’s Raeliksen, a try. While avoiding heavy-handed preaching, a hero who’s not afraid to explore his spiritual side can add a certain depth to an already emotional story, and lovers who come from such different belief systems have a strong conflict sure to keep readers turning pages.
Ah, the stories. With Vikings, it always comes back to the stories. Even before the written word, Vikings knew the appeal of curling up with a great story around a crackling fire, a beverage of choice close at hand. Mia Marlowe’s Maidensong features a storyteller heroine who risked her very life to tell tales of love…and live a love story of her own in the process.
With the strong storytelling tradition, one might imagine Vikings’ biggest complaint about their depiction in romance novels is that there aren’t more of them. What are your favorite Viking romances?
Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.