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viking magic

Category Romance Review: Viking Magic by Angela Welles

viking magic category romance
Viking Magic Rating: four-stars
Published: 1995
Illustrator: TBD
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Presents #1681
Book Series: Postcards From Europe #10
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 188
Format: Paperback, eBook
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Category Romance Review: Viking Magic by Angela Welles


The Book

Viking Magic by Angela Welles was the entry for Denmark in Harlequin Presents‘ 1995 Postcards from Europe mini-series.

Viking Magic features an honest-to-goodness nice guy hero, and a neurotically insecure heroine (aren’t they all?) united on a quest of sorts.

The Plot

Gina Price is in Copenhagen to find her wayward teenage sister, who’s run off with a young Danish student. She has an address that might be a clue as to her sister’s whereabouts. So she knocks on the door of an apartment.

Who should open the door but a Viking god of a man dressed in nothing but boxers!

The man’s not too keen on seeing Gina, as, #1, she’s interrupted his sleep. And #2, he thinks she’s one of his conniving ex’s friends trying to steal a valuable painting from him.

Things are clarified in short order, and the man, Rune Christenson, has nothing to do with Gina’s sister. However, his missing nephew does.

And so Rune takes Gina on a tour of magical Copenhagen as they search for the missing lovebirds.

There are a couple of sensual scenes that stood out. Rune has Gina drink some aqua vitae with him, and they entwine their arms and look deep into each other’s eyes before saying, “Skoal!” and drinking. Later, Rune surprises her by seductively playing the saxophone for her on stage at a club.

Two People Hurt By Love

Gina’s been hurt by love in the past, and Rune, too, is wary of the other sex after a recent nasty affair. As the two get to know each other, their defenses break down, and they make love.

Gina is a virgin, but Rune isn’t a dominant “Now you’re mine and only mine” type, although he appreciates that he had the honor of being Gina’s first lover.

When Rune’s nephew returns, he tells them Gina’s sister summarily dumped him. So Gina decides it’s time to high-tail it out of there without much of an explanation. I did say she was irrationally insecure, right?

I forget why, but the heroine returns to Copenhagen on a business trip and is invited to one of Rune’s parties.

Of course, she doesn’t show up, but Rune tracks her down and makes his declaration of love, one that if Gina had only stuck around, she would have heard the night they made love.

Postcards From Denmark

I don’t know why the Nordic nations of Europe don’t feature more prominently in HPlandia.

Those heroes are just as exciting as the Greek, Spanish, Italian, and Arab ones.

I probably rated this book higher because of my penchant for Nordic heroes, who are rare in the Presents line.

Final Analysis of Viking Magic

Viking Magic was not an angsty Harlequin Presents at all, but I enjoyed it for what it was: a sweet love story.

Viking Magic hits some sweet spots for me, so I’ve reread it once or twice. This romance holds up well.

4 stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 3.9


Gina Price had gone to Copenhagen on a mission — to find her willful teenage sister. She hadn’t planned on the help of a gorgeous Viking — especially once he accused her of being a thief! But help her he did, because just like his ancestors, Rune Christensen had clearly set out to conquer..


Rapture's rebel

Historical Romance Review: Rapture’s Rebel by Iris Bancroft

Rapture’s Rebel, Iris Bancroft, Pinnacle, 1980, cover artist unknown

From the back of the book:

Torn between her desires for a Russian colonel and a dashing lieutenant in the Swedish army, Kirsten is swept by savage destiny into the raging lusts of a revolution… Against the tumultuous background of the Northern War of 1710 is woven the enthralling saga of a tempestuous woman forced to choose between her impassioned loyalty and the ecstasy of forbidden love.


1 1/2 stars

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

The Book

Rapture’s Rebel by Iris Bancroft is the first non-Viking historical romance set in Scandinavia that I’ve read. The blurb made it sound so exciting. Alas…

I HATE being let down by books that seem to have promise, but end with a lifeless whimper. Bodice rippers set in Russia are my siren song! This should have rocked!

The Plot

Russian soldiers have taken over a town in Sweden and Kirsten hides in a hot sauna for protection. Stupid Kirsten lets a little kitty in there with her and he dies, the poor thing! Well, maybe not so poor. Kitty’s pain is over, but mine was still to come as I had this turkey of a book to finish.

The heroine is a twa– er twit. There’s a rapacious older Russian (basically Rod Steiger in Dr. Zhivago) who makes her his. Too bad he’s a dud in bed!

Kirsten is, of course, so irresistible that men cannot help themselves! She gets to sleep with three different men within three consecutive days (both willingly and not). That is a pretty good bodice ripper count.

Kirsten’s lucky, though, she’s got hot blond guys galore following her. The hero, Viotto, isn’t as bland as they tend to be in these bodice rippers. Lamentably, he’s missing-in-action for most of the book.

As it often does, the setup started out decently enough. There was a war going on and there are three men who desire Kirsten. The two men searching for her, Viotto and Knut, are the only ones worth reading about. The one she hangs on to for most of the book is an utter ass.

Kirsten wasn’t a genius to begin with, and only turned into a greater bleeding fool as the story went on! Why in the world did she march INTO Russia to find the old man who violated her? She thinks is a nice guy who will care for her, but in reality, he’s actually a gross, creepy, rapist!

This Was Not Fun

War is hell! As Kirsten heads east to Russia. this book takes a turn for the worse and gets really rapey, and not in a crazy, fantasy, bodice-ripper way. Women and children are brutally raped to death by Russian soldiers, prisoners of war are starved, and people freeze to death on their way to Russian enslavement. I was looking for some escapist fun, and this realism was a huge buzzkill.

Two great rivals for Kirsten’s love who spend more time together and have more chemistry with EACH OTHER than the heroine has with either of them? Plus, she spends maybe 40-60 pages tops with both of them, while the rest of the book is marching into Russia or getting raped by “Daddy!”

And on the last page, Kirsten reunites with her “true love,” Viotto, whom she met, for what a day or two?

Final Analysis of Rapture’s Rebel

If that’s the kind of bodice ripper you’re going to write, it has to be meaty and fun. This wasn’t.

While the competition between Kirsten’s other men neared a bloody battle, Kirsten was nowhere to be found as unfortunately, those interesting characters had almost no interaction with Kristen.

One woman, three men who love her, and this dumb twatwaffle, Kirsten, initially went for the very old Russian general who she said treated her like a daughter, then turned around to brutally rape and beat her. Even when he was not violent, his “lovemaking” was terrible (yuck)… And she forgave this loser because he was like her daddy? Who thinks like this?

I wonder if Iris Bancroft was a pseudonym for a male author. Not that male romance writers can’t write thoughtful, entertaining romances, but this was a Pinnacle-published book from the early 1980s, and they, like Playboy Press, had a slew of male authors who wrote unromantic books that somehow became bestsellers because the public was hungry for historical romance back then.

So disappointed about this one.