Friday, February 14, 2014

The Bard's Gift by Meredith Mansfield - Book Review & 8-Book Giveaway

Sixteen-year-old Astrid keeps mostly to herself, finding companionship in the stories her grandmother used to tell. She's too shy even to talk in front of Torolf, the young man she secretly dreams of. Then the Norse god of eloquence appears in Astrid's dreams and forces her to drink the Mead of Poetry. Suddenly, she's compelled to tell her stories. In public. Even in front of Torolf. 

Astrid is meant to use these stories to guide her people from starvation in Greenland to a better future in Markland. A place legends claim is the abode of dragons. But not all of her fierce and independent people are willing to follow a mere girl, even the chieftain's daughter--especially when she counsels peace. Some have other plans for the new land and want to use Astrid and her gift as a tool.

Torolf never dreamed that quiet Astrid could choose him. Now he's stranded in Iceland as she sails in the opposite direction. To attain the promise of a future with Astrid, he'll have to attempt the impossible--sailing alone across the North Atlantic. 

Together, they might defy the plans the gods have made for them and change the fate of more than just their own people.

My take:
I'm always a fan of a book that has a fantasy element. Wrap that into the wonderful Norse history that's weaved throughout this book, and I was about sold. Then, give me a charming romance that doesn't take forever to bloom--but still has me on the edge of my seat--and the book's a winner.

I loved that Astrid and Torolf had to grow as individuals (away from each other) as well as love interests. Their dedication to each is the kind of thing I look for in my favorite romance stories. Maybe that's why I'm not much of a fan of love triangles. If the girl can really be tempted by another guy, what she feels for the first one isn't anything to brag about. No love triangles in this book, but there is a great battle at the end.

To celebrate the release of The Bard's Gift,
we're having an 8-book giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Participants

24 comments:

  1. Sounds like an awesome story. I'd like to read more books that take place in that part of the world. Congrats to Meredith.

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  2. Interesting story. I'm not big on love triangles, I think mainly because they feel so predictable, so expected.

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    1. Anymore they are. My publisher was worried A Change of Plans would have one and was pleased when it didn't.

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    2. So far, I've only written one love triangle--and that one wasn't expected. This other character just sort of elbowed his way in while I was writing it. In fact, that's the story I'm revising now. :)

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  3. Some awesome authors in the giveaway!
    Don't like love triangles either and for the very reason you stated.

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    1. And such a nice variety of genres.

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    2. I feel privileged to have these authors helping me out with this.

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  4. ooh, sounds very intriguing and adventurous, I do love historical books more than any other genre

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    1. Especially when they're done well. :D

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    2. This is my first historical fantasy. But history almost always plays some part in the development of my stories.

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  5. Very cool. I don't read a great deal of Viking Literature, but I'm betting I'd love this.

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    1. I hope you'd love it. I certainly had fun writing it.

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  6. Love triangles just annoy, so much better when it is just the two

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    1. No love triangles in this one. Both Astrid and Torolf are real clear what they want. Not everyone else agrees with them. ;)

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  7. Sounds like a great book! I agree love triangles (like the one in the sixth Harry Potter) make me want to lean over and heave. I love it when I can find a book where the love is true and strong.

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    1. I think love triangles are getting to be overdone. In too many of them, there's never much doubt how it's going to turn out. It's still possible to use one character's hopeless love *or other interest) for another as a source of conflict, but not as a triangle.
      In The Bard's Gift, there's another character who wants Astrid for himself, but not because he loves her.

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  8. I like viking stories ad this one sounds like a great one. Poor Astrid, I love telling stories but even for me that gift would be a bit much.

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    1. Writing a Norse historical fantasy was fun. A lot of good material available in the Norse sagas and myths.

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  9. Congrats and best of luck to Meredith!

    Donna, I hope you'll consider joining my bloggers' book club. Details are here: http://armchairsquid.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-cephalopod-coffeehouse-february.html

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  10. Woohoo! It sounds so exciting. And I do like love triangles. I know. It's like eating chocolate. ;)

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