Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
AFTER SAM’S GRANDFATHER nearly died in a blizzard one year ago, Sam has panic attacks in snow storms. So where does his friend Jackie propose they spend the holidays, as the last stop on their trip around the world?
Iceland. Of course.
But there’s more in Iceland than snow. When Arnar, a handsome Icelandic man, offers to escort Sam on a several-day tour of the beautiful countryside, they soon find themselves drawn to each other. But Arnar is firmly rooted in his native soil, and Sam has to return to the US in a week to care for his ailing grandfather.
Suddenly, yule can’t last nearly long enough.
A Viking for Yule by Jamie Fessenden is actually a sequel to the author’s very likable holiday story, A Cop for Christmas. But honestly, this is the story I absolutely adore. At the front? It absolutely redeems a wishy washy character so bland he threatened to fade into the snow in the first one. That would be Sam. Here he become a fully fleshed adult, someone we can finally connect with away from his Gramps. We get to see the man, watch how the gift of independence the trip lays upon him enables him to enjoy himself, the places and people, and grow as a person. It’s not that Sam actually changes but more our acceptance of him and that’s a really great treat.
Next up is Arnar, the man who helps to act as Sam’s guide when Sam’s “Auntie Mame” and her dear friend take the time to make their own schedule. Arnar, has his own issues having recently broken up with his partner. He’s not entirely happy to be involved with the “tourist” that his “aunt” has brought with her on her visit to see his mom. I loved Arnar. He’s a man of depth and deep love of his country, a memorable character all around who sees something wonderful in Sam.
However, it’s Christmas time in Iceland and, while freezing, holiday celebrations are everywhere. Which brings me to the third marvelous element of this story. The author’s clear love and familiarity with Iceland.
This is as much a love story to Iceland as it is Sam and Arnar’s. Sam and Arnar travel to many locations in Iceland, ones often famous for their Christmas markets, some for their geographical formations, and others for their religious significance. These travels are folded into the story with an ease that’s remarkable and a fondness that radiates from every scene. Iceland is truly another main character here and it helps make the story.
Everything about A Viking for Yule is lovely. From the romance, the characters right to the ending, I just loved it. You will too. It’s not just for the holidays but one I could read any time of the year.
Cover Art by Reese Dante is perfect for the characters and storyline.
NOTE: Though this novel includes characters from “A Cop for Christmas,” it is a standalone adventure. It isn’t necessary to read “A Cop for Christmas” first.