I really enjoyed book four in the Sons of Sigurd series (see my review of Redeeming Her Viking Warrior here) so I was excited to see how the story and mystery wrapped up in book five, Tempted By Her Viking Enemy!
Book: Tempted By Her Viking Enemy by Terri Brisbin
Read before: No
Publication date: 29th October 2020
Ownership: E-ARC sent free of charge by the author. All opinions my own.
Content warnings: Violence; injury and healing; discussion of past murder, including the murder of a pregnant woman; past death of a spouse and present recovery from grief; parental physical abuse and emotional neglect; past spousal physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Although this is book five in the Sons of Sigurd series, you don’t need to worry about jumping in here; all the books have different authors, and are designed to stand alone. There is an overarching plot in the background – that of a set of five Viking brothers trying to find out who murdered their father and other members of their family – and although this book wraps up the mystery, it does a fantastic job of making sure you have all the information even if you haven’t read the previous instalments. I also don’t think it would spoil earlier books to read them after discovering the culprit, because it would be fun to watch the brothers piece together the information, and also, you have an individual love story in each book! I won’t talk too much about the mystery aspect for obvious reasons other than to say it was a very satisfying conclusion to a complicated series – especially given each book has a different author!
This book is the story of Brandt, the eldest son who lost more than most in the massacre – not only did he lose his father, but his wife and their unborn child, too. He challenges Thorfinn, the Jarl of Katanes, whom he suspects was behind the attack, but is defeated and thrown into the dungeon, where Katla, Thorfinn’s daughter, comes to tend his wounds. Although he’s her father’s enemy, Katla can’t help but find the rugged Viking intriguing, and as she nurses him back to health, the two of them begin to bond. Brandt shows Katla that men can be kind and gentle, unlike her abusive father and her late husband, and she in turn shows him that there may well be life beyond his quest for vengeance…
These are two of the most broken characters I’ve seen in a romance, and their development as a couple hinges on them both learning to heal together. Katla’s story is particularly dark, and I would urge anyone who is sensitive to depictions of sexual abuse to proceed carefully; Brandt’s grief is also very prominent in his chapters. For someone who tends to keep things fluffy with her romance reading, this was rather a new experience for me, and I have to say, it was really rewarding to see two people go through so much and still come out determined to survive. The physical chemistry between Katla and Brandt is secondary to their emotional compatibility (though there is plenty of both!), which makes it clear that they have a seriously solid foundation for their future, something I love to see in a romance, and particularly in this one where I was so invested in the two of them finding ways to heal themselves. I particularly liked how respectful Brandt was of Katla’s boundaries; he might be a prisoner and beholden to her for survival, but he is still aware of what an enormous physical advantage he has over her, and makes sure she is comfortable with his actions at all times. I also loved that his interactions with her sister, which added some great humour.
As I said in my review of the last book, Vikings are something of an unusual setting for me – I’m far more at home in a Regency ballroom. But I’m so glad I took the leap into this series, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Terri Brisbin. If you are an aficionado of Viking romance, if you like your romance on the angstier side, or if you just want to see two really compelling characters fighting for their happiness against all odds, this just might be your new favourite! Four out of five cats!