Read on to learn more of her fascinating story and for your chance to win an e-copy of Forest Child, as well as a print copy of God’s Daughter (Book 1 of the series), thanks to the generosity of the author.
The book: (from the publisher) Viking warrior. Dauntless leader. Protective mother.
Determined to rise above her rank as the illegitimate “forest child” of Eirik the Red, Freydis launches a second voyage to Vinland to solidify her power and to demand the respect she deserves. She will return home with enough plunder to force her brother, Leif, to sell her the family farm in Greenland.
But nothing can prepare her for the horrors she must confront in Vinland…and nothing can stand in her way when her family is threatened.
In her race to outrun the truths that might destroy her, Freydis ultimately collides with the only enemy she cannot silence—her own heart.
Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life. This immersive tale is Book Two in the bestselling Vikings of the New World Saga.
The author: HEATHER DAY GILBERT, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational storytelling runs in her blood. Heather is a graduate of Bob Jones University, and she and her husband are raising their children in the same home in which Heather grew up. Heather is represented by Rebeca Seitz and Jonathan Clements of SON Studios in FL.
Heather’s Viking historical novel, God’s Daughter, is an Amazon Norse Bestseller. She is also the author of the bestselling A Murder in the Mountains mystery series and the Hemlock Creek Suspense series. Heather also authored the Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher.
Maturity rating: PG-13 for mature themes and non-graphic violence.
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Reflection: Rarely do I find a heroine whose trajectory from first page to last is so riddled with conflict, whose transformation so huge. But that’s exactly what I found within the pages of Forest Child, Heather Day Gilbert’s enthralling tale of courage, determination, and redemption. The best part of which may be the fact that it’s based on historical fact.
I know from her notes and from conversations I’ve had with Heather that she spends a great deal of time — years even — researching her historical fiction. She is scrupulous in reporting the details as well as representing the tone of the times. One of the great values to me in reading first God’s Daughter and then Forest Child was getting a hint as to what Christianity may have looked like in those adolescent years of the faith. When the good news of Jesus was spreading to far-flung places, with people like Leif Eiriksson and Gudrid (heroine of God’s Daughter) as early accepters, but still so fledgling as to how it was lived out in pagan society. I found these details fascinating, and it made me appreciate all the more the work of our Christian ancestors to propagate the Gospel so we might know it many centuries later.
One of the other themes common to most of Heather’s books is her honest exploration of the emotional complexity of marriage. I have always appreciated the way she stays grounded in real-world circumstances (regardless of century). There’s something both comforting and freeing in understanding the universality of marital effort.
I would recommend Forest Child to histfic fans and female readers between the ages of a mature 13 on up. Though Heather faces violence head-on — indeed, it’s an integral part of the story — it’s not graphic. I would allow my mature teen to read this book, welcoming the ethical and spiritual questions it might raise. Readers with a Scandinavian heritage or interest in Viking lore will be especially drawn to the wealth of historical detail.
In Freydis we find a fierce, flawed heroine. This is so much of what makes Forest Child an engrossing read, experiencing her journey of hard-won transformation. She was a woman willing to own her weakness and do the hard work of forgiveness — including forgiving herself.
Thanks to the author for providing me this copy free of charge. All opinions are mine.
After words: Heather claims Eirik the Red as one of her ancestors. Do you know of any famous folk in your family tree?