Ascent (House of Normandy – Book 1)

‘Ascent’ is the story of a young woman’s emotional growth over a number of years,beginning at the age of fourteen when she is given to an invading Northern leader, who promptly leaves his child bride to sack and ruin elsewhere. After years of waiting, Poppa and her Norse husband, Hrofl, finally settle into their union and she gives birth to two children. Their return to Poppa’s homeland, however, results in Hrofl striking a deal with the King of the Franks for land, which includes converting to Christianity and setting Poppa aside for another woman. Can Poppa overcome yet another setback in her already hard
‘Ascent’ by Cathie Dunn is an extremely well-written retelling of Normandy history and the violence surrounding the time period, as well as the daily hardships all women faced. The author’s command of the historical facts makes this story even more compelling, and Poppa’s plight even more heartbreaking. Watching Poppa overcome all she must go through is the highlight of the story. This is especially evident when she takes it upon herself to track down her pillaging husband in order to begin their life together. The change from Pagan rituals, such as the hand-fasting of Poppa to Hrofl, and the slow transition to Christianity are well done and very authentic. When Poppa is faced with one final test of her resolve, she’s left to rely on the strength she’s earned over the years to help her succeed. The action scenes were well done, if not a little understated compared to some Viking tales. Still, an excellent portrayal of the time period and highly recommended for those who enjoy action with their historical fiction.
N.E. Kelley