Immediately after I began reading the story, it felt like I was coming home to a place I had never been before, but everything felt so familiar. Once again, the imagery is outstanding and it was easy to slip right back into a time period that we were introduced to in The Emerald Isle Trilogy. We also met and fell for the hardened Viking warrior known as Gustaf while in the last dregs to delivering vengeance upon his enemies and honor his deceased father. His mission having spanned most of his adult life has made him a fearsome and formidable warrior, but he is not without compassion and gentle motives toward a young woman who he found in the arms of his enemy. He knew her worth even before she did and for that he earned her undying loyalty, passion, and love. Aside from his family, Gustaf hadn’t known what he was missing in life until he met her.
‘By Gustaf’s noble actions and kind words, Æsa had learned what a real man was and that chivalry actually existed in this dark and dreary age.’
To say Æsa has had a rough life would be an understatement. Her life up to this point was far from her choosing. Having had her family taken away at an early age and then forced into slavery, men took advantage and forever scarred her from emotionally connecting with them outside of fear. That being said the mentions of her slave life and the rapes she endured are not graphic in description and only acknowledged for the purpose of pivotal moments in the storyline. Admirably, Æsa’s feisty qualities make her a survivor of her former life and a fighter for a better future. Her selflessness knows no bounds, but the same could be said for her stubbornness, which makes her a perfect match for Gustaf. He’s Æsa’s chance to start over and give herself wholeheartedly to one man, but doubts of how her past will affect her future, plague her.
Both characters early on in their lives had to grow up fast due to horrible circumstances, which ripped away the innocence of youth and ushered them into the uglier parts of humanity. Now they have a chance to redeem some of that lost youthful innocence in exploring the growing emotional bond between them and I loved reading how they handled the ups and downs of a serious relationship. It started out like a humorous fairy tale as Gustaf reunites with Æsa and I was more than content to sit back and read all about how they lived happily ever after. Unfortunately, that was not to be for long. Æsa's past isn't as dead as she thought it was and Gustaf will need to use more than mere might to vanquish it once and for all.
There are so many quotable passages in this story. All with a deep meaning that can speak to anyone regardless of era…
“…there is no greater love than when a man lays down his life for another.”
And yet there is humor mixed in as well…
“Easy woman,” he warned. “That is early morning wood you have in your grasp. ’Tis a bit more responsive than the others.”
It is not necessary to read The Emerald Isle Trilogy in order to read The Temperate Warrior, but the story will mean so much if you do. Although I will profess to missing Dægan (hero from Ræliksen), I thoroughly enjoyed really getting to know his brother Gustaf and meeting his loyal mercenaries. And I am hopeful that we will get to read more about Øyven, one of those loyal mercenaries, as The Warrior Sagas series continues.
Heartwarming, heart pounding, and spellbinding I can not find fault in this author’s work as she weaves each enchanting tale. The stories are beautiful and live in my mind long after having read them and they never fail to sadden me just a bit by their (albeit happy) end.
He was her champion. She was his weakness. Together, they loved with wild abandon.
Gustaf Ræliksen lives by the blade of his sword. After avenging his father’s murder and reuniting with his family, he wants nothing more than to settle down and have sons of his own. Only one woman will do—a fiery redhead he saved from the spoils of war.
No longer forced to warm the beds of the men who’ve taken everything from her, Æsa has nothing to offer the noble warrior but her heart.
When someone with a deep score to settle seeks revenge upon her, Gustaf’s world is torn asunder. He has but one vow—saving the woman he loves from the ignorant fool who dared to best the temperate warrior.