Book Review & Giveaway: Avelynn

Published By: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
Page Count: 352
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Adult - Historical Fiction

Avelynn is a beautiful young girl living in England in the year 869. Her father is a powerful noble and she will inherit a portion of his estate upon his death, but as a woman her power is severely limited outside of her father's lands. Avelynn represents a young woman who wishes to make her own path; she is intelligent and tenacious. 

Like so many young women in this time period, Avelynn is forced into a betrothal with a man she does not love. The marriage is a political move that will unite her with a man she loathes. Demas, her intended, makes it very clear that he holds no affection for her and will control her with an iron fist. Avelynn refuses to bend to her father's will and plans to find a way to end her betrothal. She feels that to marry Demas will result in misery or death. Avelynn craves the ability to make her own choices and find true love. As her father and brother head to Rome, Avelynn is left in charge of the estate. It will be her chance to prove that she is just as a capable as a man, but many think that she oversteps her place as a woman and her list of enemies grows.

In addition to fighting the gender roles of her time period, Avelynn also must deal with the fact that her Pagan religion is no longer accepted in England. Her Irish mother instilled in her the worship of the Goddess and Avelynn is determined to not lose her beliefs in spite of the fact that she could be killed for them. It is her religion that lures her to sacred land on the coast to perform a ritual. This move will place her in the path of the handsome Viking, Alrik the Blood-Axe. Alrik is everything Avelynn has wished for in a man; he is handsome, brave, and passionate. But can she lose her heart to a man who is the enemy of her Saxon people?

I loved the relationship between Avelynn and Alrik. There is something swoon worthy about a handsome blond Viking. Alrik is also not the villain the Saxons paint all Vikings to be. He has a deep attraction to Avelynn that morphs into a devotion. These two would lay down their lives in order to keep the other safe. Together, Avelynn and Alrik make a fearsome pair. I certainly wouldn't want to run into either of them in a dark alley.

I do have a few slight issues with this one. I tend to like the intimacy in novels to leave something left to the imagination, but the scenes in this one won't be anything that would make a traditional romance reader blush. There were also some gruesome scenes that made me cringe, but they were true to the time period. My biggest issue was the ending left lots of loose ends. I can only hope that there will be another novel to tie those bits up, but if not, I would find the ending less than fruitful. 

In spite of my few issues, I enjoyed every moment spent lost in this novel. Avelynn is a well written, adventurous historical fiction that is laced with romance, intrigue, and war. I loved that Avelynn was a woman before her time fighting for equality in a world in which she shouldn't have had a voice. She is certainly an example of the quotation that well behaved women rarely make history. I highly recommend this one to fans of historical fiction who like some romance thrown in with rich details and compelling characters.

One Last Gripe: The ending

Favorite Thing About This Book: Learning more about the conflict between the Saxons and the Vikings

First Sentence: Sigberht gripped the hilt of his sword, and my heart quickened.

Favorite Character: Avelynn

Least Favorite Character: Demas

One extraordinary Saxon noblewoman and one fearless Viking warrior find passion and danger in this dazzling and sensuous debut

Marissa Campbell's debut novel is a winning combination of romance, history, and adventure sure to appeal to fans of Diana Gabaldon.

It is 869. For eighteen years, Avelynn, the beautiful and secretly pagan daughter of the Eadlorman of Somerset has lived in an environment of love and acceptance. She hasn't yet found a man to make her heart race, but her father has not pressured her to get married. Until now. With whispers of war threatening their land, her father forces Avelynn into a betrothal with Demas, a man who only covets her wealth and status. The dreaded marriage looming, she turns to her faith, searching for answers in an ancient ritual along the coast, only to find Alrik the Blood-Axe and sixty Viking berserkers have landed.

Alrik is unlike any man she has ever known, strong and intriguing. Likewise, he instantly falls for her beauty and courage. The two stumble into a passionate love affair, but it's more than just a greedy suitor who will try to keep them apart.

As the Saxons and Vikings go to war, Avelynn and Alrik find themselves caught in the throes of fate. Can they be true to their people as well as to each other?

Avelynn by Marissa Campbell

Publication Date: September 8, 2015 St. Martin's Press Formats: eBook, Paperback, Hardcover Pages: 320 ISBN13: 978-1250063939 Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

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"Marissa Campbell brings a long-forgotten era splendidly to life in this adventurous and passionate debut." - Susanna Kearsley, New York Times bestselling author 

 "Avelynn is a captivating tale of star-crossed lovers. He is a Viking and she is a Saxon. Their struggle to be together will lead you on an exciting journey through a background filled with rich and detailed description." - Connie Mason, New York Times bestselling author of Viking Warrior

"Marissa Campbell's Avelynn is a fast-paced, rollicking historical novel whose irresistible heroine starts out as the willful daughter of a Saxon earl and evolves into a warrior and leader, as fierce as she is passionate." - Barbara Rogan, author of A Dangerous Fiction and Suspicion 

 "A hot-blooded tale of Viking invasion, Saxon valor, and a love that conquers kingdoms. Get ready to be bewitched by the bold, brave Avelynn." - Barbara Kyle, author of The Queen's Exiles



03_Marissa Campbell_Author

Marissa Campbell is a published freelance author, and co-author of the award-winning, spiritual self-help book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. 

 Look for her debut historical fiction Avelynn coming September 8th, 2015, from St. Martinís Press. Currently, hard at work on the second book in the Avelynn series, she is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, Writerís Community of Durham Region, and local critique group B7. 

 When she is not writing, she is busy looking after her wonderful children, spending time with her fantastic husband, hanging out with her awesome friends, teaching yoga, dancing, laughing, and having fun! 

 For more information visit You can also follow Marissa Campbell on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Monday, September 7 

  Tuesday, September 8 
Review at A Chick Who Reads 
Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession 

  Wednesday, September 9 
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish 

  Thursday, September 10 
Interview at Unshelfish 
Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise 

  Friday, September 11 
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book 

  Saturday, September 12 
Excerpt & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More 

  Sunday, September 13 
Review at Genre Queen 

  Monday, September 14 

  Tuesday, September 15 
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee 

  Friday, September 18 

  Monday, September 21 
Interview & Excerpt at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! 

  Tuesday, September 22 

  Wednesday, September 23 

  Thursday, September 24 
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day 

  Sunday, September 27 

  Monday, September 28 

  Tuesday, September 29 
Review at Jorie Loves a Story 
Review & Giveaway at Reading Lark 

  Wednesday, September 30 
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books 
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story 

  Thursday, October 1 
Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation 

  Friday, October 2 

We have one paperback copy of Avelynn to give away to our readers. This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada. You must be 18+ years of age to win. Reading Lark is not responsible for lost or damaged packages. The book will be shipped by the publicist.

The giveaway runs from September 29 - October 6. Winner will be notified via email on October 7.


  1. Hi Andrea!

    Thank you for the wonderful review. I'm thrilled you enjoyed Avelynn. :D
    I thought I'd let you know that I'm working on the second book in the Avelynn series right now. Avelynn's story isn't over yet!

    In gratitude,
    Marissa xo

    1. Thanks for checking out that review! That is wonderful news that Avelynn's story will continue. I was hoping it would as I need more of Avelynn and Alrik. :)

  2. Thank you for sharing - this sounds like a good book and I have added it to my TBR list.

  3. Although I love this time period -- reminds me of the Mists of Avalon series -- I really don't like graphic "intimate" scenes in books. Thanks for the heads up!


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