"Past-life Experience Spurs Lingerie Mogul to Spice up her Stagnant Marriage"
THE RELUCTANT VIKING was Sandra Hill's debut novel.
first read this story, I was truly taken aback by the
ending. Since then, I have read additional books in Ms.
Hills historical Viking series, met the author and reread
the story. I felt that I understood it much better the
second time around. I will say that Ms. Hills wonderful
sense of humor saves this story of from being depressing at
times. This was a violent era and Ms. Hills' writing is
true to life. Let this be a warning to those who like HEA
endings with all the loose ends tied up with a pretty bow.
Unlike many "timeless love" stories in which you either
have a pair of souls who continue to find one another
through many lifetimes, or a hero/heroine who awaits the
rebirth of a lost love - The heroine of this tale travels
back 1000+ years to a previous incarnation of her estranged
husband to "start over" as it were, using him to find a way
to work out her difficulties with her modern husband. Of
course they're one and the same to her way of thinking.
You just KNOW someone is going to get hurt!
Thirty-nine year old, Ruby Jordan is devastated to find her
husband of twenty years is leaving her. Had things gotten
that bad? Apparently Ruby has been too busy with her
lingerie business to notice. Jack states that while he
still loves her, he can't bear the hurt of her neglect
anymore. Naturally Ruby realizes what she's lost the
minute he's gone. Curling up in his favorite chair, Ruby
indulges in a little self pity, then determines win him
back. Clicking on one of Jack's self motivation tapes, she
falls asleep wishing that she was twenty years younger, and
could begin again knowing what she now knows.
She wakes up in Jorvik, England and not only is she twenty
years younger but she's also 1000+ years in the past. With
her short hair, jeans, and son's T-shirt with a "Brass
Balls" logo on it, she draws instant attention. As the
stunned Ruby tries to get her bearings, she spies a
gorgeous Viking, Thork, who bears a remarkable resemblance
to her husband. Deciding she's dreaming, she immediately
claims him as her husband.
Thork is a product of his times. He is son of a Norse
king, who had many wives and even more sons all vying for
their heritage. Thork has learned practically from the
cradle to watch his back. One brother in particular, has
shown violence toward anyone connected to Thork. Sadly
this has forced Thork to deny his two young sons (products
of his reckless teen years). He vows never to wed nor
father additional children.
Naturally he thinks Ruby is either insane or a spy. The
logo on her shirt would appear to be a taunt from the
Vikings great enemy. Thork takes personal responsibility
for Ruby until her fate as a spy is determined. He places
her with friends who incidentally also have care of his two
sons. They are introduced as orphans, but Ruby immediately
realizes their paternity due to their remarkable
resemblance to her own boys. She claims them as well. But
as she is but eighteen in this time and a virgin as
well ,no one is inclined to believe her. Thork tries to
stay away from both the woman and his children for their
safety, but can't seem to fight the attraction between
The story has a great deal of humor, much of it due to
Ruby's startling lingerie, and other things from her future
life she tries to incorporate into the Viking world.
Eventually she teaches Thork that life is too short to deny
himself the love of family. In the process she learns the
lesson for herself as well. When Thork's son is kidnapped,
and Thork is dealt a fatal wound, Ruby reveals that she
carries his child. Far from angry, he tells her with his
dying breath that he's seen a vision of his future self
and encourages Ruby to cherish her marriage.
I would have been content I think, had I been able to
convince myself that the Ruby's journey was just a dream,
that Thork was just symbolic for Jack, and that Ruby didn't
really abruptly abandon the two boys who had just lost
their father. When Ruby finds Thork's brooch in her jeans
pocket at home you just want to cry. The reader never
really learns much about Jack, so we really have to trust
that his soul and Thork's are one in the same and that
these soul mates were meant to spend another lifetime
This sets the stage for the daughter Rain, born to Ruby and
Jack in the present, to return to the Viking Era. There to
save the soul of Thork's young Viking friend Selik in the
sequel, THE OUTLAW VIKING.
I thought this story was well written and I love Ms. Hill's
Copyright © 1999
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted February 26, 2002