27 November 2017

A Discovering Diamonds Review of Alba is Mine by Jen Black



Amazon UK £2.29
Amazon US $3.02

Romance / Viking
11th century
Orkney / Scotland

We meet our hero, Finlay, in prison because he tried to abscond with the woman he loves. Upon his release, King Malcolm of Alba sends him to the court of his half-brother Thorfinn, Lord of Orkney, where he is to marry Thorfinn’s half-sister, Ratagan. Finlay is not unwilling as his true love has been forced to marry his cousin. Ratagan has a young lover. She knows she must marry Finlay because that’s what her brother wants but she is ambivalent.

As with most romance plots, there is a great deal of falling in and out of love between the parties, and the reluctance of Finlay and Ratagan to decide whether they will marry or not leads to several encounters that resolve nothing. Meanwhile, war looms when King Malcolm dies and both the king’s grandson, Duncan, and our hero, Finlay, are prospective heirs to the throne of Alba.

I have to say that I’m not a great fan of romance, so I didn’t find that side of the story engrossing. However, this is an unexplored period and setting for me, and I enjoyed the history and the glimpses of Viking life. (Throwing knives at one poor fellow for entertainment.) Most of all I enjoyed Ms Black’s faculty for creating atmosphere. I could almost feel the sting of wind-blown snow on my face, the welcome warmth of a firelit room, or the eerie menace of a mist-wrapped wood.


There are some editing errors, mostly missed words, but not enough to spoil the reader’s appreciation. Those who like to mix their history with romance will enjoy this book.

© Susan Appleyard


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