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Odin's Shadow (Sons of Odin Book 1) by Erin S. Riley

On My Kindle BR's review of Odin's Shadow (Sons of Odin Book 1) by Erin S. Riley

Niall, an Irish widower and merchant who recently lost his wife during childbirth, discovered two children by the stream behind his house. Feeling unsettled by their appearance, he cautiously approaches the pair to discover that they are twins; a boy and a girl.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

After approaching them, Niall sees the dead body of a woman who he assumes is the twins' mother. Hoping that the children have kin in the town that he lives in, he takes the children with him to search for their next of kin; however, no one knows who the twins are or where they came from. Resigned to keeping the children with him until he investigates the matter further, he runs into his former servant on the street. His hopes of pawning the twins off onto her are crushed when she volunteers to return to his house to help him care for them.

After a fortnight, Niall is unsuccessful in finding the twins' kin. He realizes that their mother may have been running from the invading Viking force that plunders villages, enslaves the Irish people, and kills women and children. Instead of taking the twins to the orphanage, he takes them to the local priest to baptize them; he names the boy Ainnileas and the girl Selia, and raises them as his own.

Sixteen years later, Ainnileas is an apprentice merchant under Niall; he has been to the city and seen the Vikings on the docks. He brags to his sister about it, and Selia is determined to see these Vikings for herself. Seeing an opportunity to slip her guardian's leash, she heads to the city to see if the stories that her guardian told her about the Vikings. At the city's docks, she encounters a Viking who contradicts what she was told; she dismisses the encounter as nothing more than a story to tell her brother.

The next day Selia finds out that Niall is arranging for her to be married to an elderly man. She is disgusted by this, and ponders this development as she collects firewood for the household; not paying attention to her surroundings. She is jerked out of her reverie by the sounds of an approaching person, and finds herself face to face with the same Viking, Alric, that she encountered at the docks.

He expresses his interest in her; either as a willing lover, or a slave. Selia sees an opportunity to avoid the arranged marriage and seizes it by insisting that Alric marry her before taking her away from her family. Alric agrees, and Selia soon finds herself in unchartered waters as she travels to husband's homeland and learns more about her new husband.

Sons of Odin series, historical fiction, romance, On My Kindle, book review, eBook

I don't normally seek out romance novels, but I am glad that I was able to review Odin's Shadow by Erin S. Riley. Riley captured my attention from the beginning of the book until the very end. I enjoyed how the protagonists' pasts were seamlessly blended into the plot; there weren't any awkward flashbacks to the past, or rambling explanations of past events.

The love scenes were spicy, but not so over-the-top erotic that I couldn't read them without blushing. I also appreciated that the foundation of the story was strong enough to stand on its own without the romance; the love scenes served to enhance the story, rather than carrying the story.

Finally, I enjoyed the twist at the end. Some may find it a bit clich├ęd; however, Riley spun it in such a way that I found it interesting and a bit unpredictable.

I really could not find anything negative to say about the book; I didn't find any glaring errors, I never got bored with the story, the violence in the book is not graphic, and the violence in the book is consistent with the book's setting.

I was pleasantly surprised by Odin's Shadow. I expected a banal story with over-dramatized love scenes; what I got was an enchanting and spicy story that I am anxious to read more of in the next book, A Flame Put Out.

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To find out more about Erin S. Riley and the Sons of Odin series, head on over to her blog where she posts a sample of Odin’s Shadow, release dates for her books, and a bio. To learn what other readers have to say about Odin's Shadow, check out her profile on Goodreads. If you enjoy book cover and story teasers, like her page on Facebook. If you want to give her a shout out for writing a fantastic book, hit her up on Twitter.