Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: VIKING SPRING
Author Guest / May 19, 2021

The Viking invaders played a big part in the Conquest world of 1066 England whose stories were featured in last month’s column.  With May being spring in Norway—when we lived in Oslo for three years, our landlord declared the second week of May to be officially “spring” and allowed us to clear any remaining snow off our lawns then—this month we will explore more stories that illuminate the Viking world by interpreting the lives of historic and legendary Viking women.  As with the world of 1066, this era seems to attract writers who produce multi-volume sagas.  What greater delight to an avid reader than discovering a new series? We begin with THE NORSE QUEEN by Johanna Wittenberg, which reinterprets the life of the Viking queen Asa.  In the ninth century, Viking power is just developing, with the land still fragmented into thirty warring kingdoms that continually raid each other to pillage and capture wives and slaves.  Fifteen-year-old Asa, daughter of the King of Tromoy, is sought as a bride by Gudrod, king of a neighboring province.  Her refusal to wed him sparks a bitter reprisal, in which her family is killed, and to save her people, she must marry her…

Linnea Hartsuyker | Top 5 Arranged Marriages
Author Guest / October 10, 2018

Right after we got engaged, my now-husband and I traveled to India with my mother. We met some of her Indian coworkers, and their eighteen-year-old daughters, who were planning careers in science and engineering. Still, these young women expected to choose husbands from among men vetted for them by parents and match-makers, and then have happy marriages. They told me that their parents had done well for them so far, and they expected their choice of mates would be good as well. For most of recorded history, marriages between young people have been arranged by parents and elders, though fiction often portrays first love and sexual attraction that throws arranged marriages into chaos. In my historical fiction about Viking Age Norway, I have created a mix of arranged and chosen marriages, with the chance of their success having much more to do with the personality and choices of those in the marriage than how it begins. I’m glad not to have had an arranged marriage for myself, but having been married for twelve years now, I think that some of the skills needed to make an arranged marriage work are also helpful in a chosen marriage. In fiction, I love…