This was a wonderfully written historical romance set in the Dark Ages. Wulfstan is a noble and fearsome Saxon warrior who has spent most of his life hiding what he really wants sexually. Leofgar is a musician who is passionate about his craft and who knows what he wants even though he thinks he can't have it. The setting is a half pagan half Christian society and we watch as the two men struggle with societal beliefs as well as their own internal beliefs about men and sexuality.
There is something about the writing that is almost poetic. I admit I know little about Saxon history but this appeared to be a well researched plotline. Both of the main characters are very interesting and I was engaged with both of them from the very beginning. The romance is a slow burn due to the men's internal struggles with what they want sexually. The topic of what makes a man is looked at in an interesting manner. Due to the time period I expected more war, fighting, etc but the book was a more mellow story.
I thought the way the story was told was well done and every time I read this author I find her writing style to be unique. This story may be some of her best work.
Manhood is about more than who’s on top.
Wulfstan, a noble and fearsome Saxon warrior, has spent most of his life hiding the fact that he would love to be cherished by someone stronger than himself. Not some slight, beautiful nobody of a harper who pushes him up against a wall and kisses him.
In the aftermath, Wulfstan isn’t sure what he regrets most—that he only punched the churl in the face, or that he really wanted to give in.
Leofgar is determined to prove he’s as much of a man as any Saxon. But now he’s got a bigger problem than a bloody nose. The lord who’s given him shelter from the killing cold is eyeing him like a wolf eyes a wounded hare.
When Wulfstan accidentally kills a friend who is about to blurt his secret, he flees in panic and meets Leofgar, who is on the run from his lord’s lust. Together, pursued by a mother’s curse, they battle guilt, outlaws, and the powers of the underworld, armed only with music…and love that must overcome murderous shame to survive.
Warning: Contains accurate depictions of Vikings, Dark Ages magic, kickass musicians, trope subversions and men who don’t know their place.