Book Review: The Viking and the Courtesan

Malice Mallender, the heroine of The Viking and the Courtesan, is not nearly as malicious as her name suggests. She is just trying to survive in the harsh world of 19th century London by running a business that breaks up people’s marriages. She’s also trying to distract herself from her unhappy personal life by obsessing about shoes. But one day, a lady enters her establishment who asks Malice to break up her own marriage. Red-leather-shoes-American-end-of-19th-century-51.1997-MFAB

Now, this is what I like about Malice: she quickly comes up with a plan not only to avoid the breakup of her marriage, but also to cement it for the future. Just as she is about to seduce Cyril, her rakish husband, she is swept away to the Middle Ages, where she is abducted by the incredibly handsome viking Sin Gudrunsson.

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The heroine is faced with some grim historic realities, such as being the property of a Viking, but she also eventually finds out that her captor is not as ruthless as he appears. Could he actually turn out to be the first man ever to find her attractive?

I really enjoyed reading about Malice’s adventures because she’s so wonderfully awkward. But then again, who wouldn’t act awkwardly when thrust into the midst of an unfamiliar Viking world? Only an idealized heroine, which Malice is not. Don’t get me wrong, she’s tough, and not in that token way that romance heroines sometimes have where they can take out eight desperadoes armed with nothing but a can opener. Malice is tough because she has been forced to survive on her own in dire economic straits. She lives by her wits, whether in 19th century London or 8th century Norway.

Shehanne Moore portrays Malice’s personality so well that the reader unquestioningly accepts that the heroine will “swallow a crocodile” as she likes to say, if push comes to shove. Of course, she would rather use her guile and talk the crocodile into eating its Aunt Sally.

My overall impression of The Viking and the Courtesan is it’s like the Outlander on crack, and I mean that in a good way. While I enjoyed reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, I sometimes found the pacing a little slow.

In contrast, Viking and Courtesan moves the plot forward at a dizzying speed, and it kept me compulsively turning the pages wondering what will befall the unfortunate Malice next, and unexpectedly for such a dramatic tale, enjoying many laughs along the way. It’s a must-read for all fans of historical fiction.

The Viking and the Courtesan is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

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17 thoughts on “Book Review: The Viking and the Courtesan

  1. Shehanne is such a great writer…. I have been following her blog for a long time now… and loved the excerpts from this book she has posted over there. Malice Mallender seems to be one of those characters we just can not forget… She reminds me of a Jane Austen´s heroine, somehow…
    Great review!.Thank you for sharing!… best wishes 🙂

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Aquileana! I’m becoming a big fan of Shehanne myself. Indeed, Malice is a great character, a bit of a rogue, but I do think she has that Jane Austen side to her because she speaks up for herself.

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        1. Listen, you fake away. Not everyone who follows you NOW has seen these posts. So why not show these fabulous images? I love them. I was over like a shot. I only had like 10 mins to spare and I used them all up looking at your posts. Time well spent xxxxxxxxxxxx

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  2. Oh Carolee… I’m crying now. I love the bit about Outlander on crack. I am afraid I am not vey good at slow…. Thank you thank you. this just came up in my reader then as I was going through it. I’ve got the prequel finished now and it means I am FREE to catch up on all my reading. I am going for yours first xxxxxx

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      1. Liked it? Man, I am still gibbering on cloud nine. I have it on facebook and that, but I will do the unthinkable over the weekend and get the dudes on it. I never do that for me. I could and would reblog in secs but I need the dudes to do their moans..Oh and push you again too. . I can’t get over your kindness. The Writerbook is about Malice’s grandmother as a young woman, where it all starts. She is a present day voddie addicted beyond it even for me. You have no idea how you have made not just my day but for me to keep on writing xxxx

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        1. Of course you should keep on writing! No question about that. I guess we all have doubts and it takes a good review to keep us going. I really enjoyed the novel, read it over a weekend, but it just took me forever to write the review. I’m so excited to be hanging out with the dudes again. Hopefully they still like me 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hee hee…they will probably put you on their most wanted list But I wondered if you would also like to come by and do an interview on writing erotic for my aspects of writing series. Will be in touch during the weekxxxxx SOmetimes we do need that good review xxxxxxxxx You are right

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