Courage of Ansgar

A Windflower Saga Novella

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
124 Pages
Reviewed on 05/23/2018
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Aleksandra Layland is a retired civil engineer and federal civil servant who worked primarily for the United States Air Force as a senior installation engineering manager responsible for buildings, airfields, infrastructure, fire protection, and emergency preparedness. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Western Caroline Islands where she helped build school classrooms and cafeterias, low income housing, and simple village water distribution systems. Her other interests include arts and crafts, family genealogy, religion and spirituality, fostering peace in the world, and enjoying retirement with family and friends.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

Kerys of Ansgar, in Courage of Ansgar - A Windflower Saga Novella by Aleksandra Layland, is not your usual candidate when considering a fitting consort for the king. She is laid back, independent and, most of all, she detests arranged marriages. When her uncle, Lord John the Duke of Ansgar, calls and asks her to represent the Ansgar lineage in the selection of a possible future wife for King Edmond, she is quite taken aback, but finally decides to attend the preparations and later the selection. She is happy enough as a spectator and, frankly, she already has a lot to handle with exams coming up at the university she is attending. The days drag on and everyone around her starts to notice a sparkle in her eyes. Is it possible that she could have fallen for the king after all, or is there someone else?

Courage of Ansgar - A Windflower Saga Novella by Aleksandra Layland is a refreshing, light read with an engaging thread of events. The simple language punctuated with moments of suspense and romance formed the perfect combination for me. Aleksandra Layland included only enough detail and left out unnecessary scenes. This made the book easy to read and relatively short. The rich history incorporated into the story adds additional elements of romance. Kerys's character is admirable. I loved that the author brought out her independence and ability to make up her own mind, despite her traditions. Her focus and determination to make something of herself were also inspiring. I highly recommend Courage of Ansgar to readers with an interest in historical romance stories.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

All Edmond wanted to do with his life was teach in the remote boys' school in northern Aspatria, lead a simple life and, when he retired, live in the same remote area. All his cousin, Kolman, wanted was to teach at the same school. Kerys was just finishing her education and wanted to be a teacher as well. For all three, there was to be a big change in their life goals, their life’s purpose. Edmond had just found out that he had been chosen to be King of Kimbria. Honor bound, he accepts his new role, just so long as Kolman accompanies him as Captain of his palace guards. Kerys is told that she must attend a week-long session at the palace with three other candidates for the role of Queen Consort. The story begins with amusing anecdotes and conversation between the key players in this story, as everyone gets acquainted and decides on their best course in life. But the story doesn’t end with the weddings (and there are more than one) and the coronation. There is a threat to the throne, as countries all around Kimbria see their rulers kidnapped or executed by rebels taking control. It’s a scary time to be a ruler, and one wonders if the new King Edmond and his Queen Consort will weather the storm.

This is not the first novel in A Windflower Saga series. Aleksandra Layland’s Courage of Ansgar is actually a continuation of several adult and young people’s stories that follow the lives of the fictional Ansgar family. Although this is not the first book in the series, it certainly stands alone very well, which is always a good thing for readers. The characters are well developed and the plot, although indecisive at first, picks up its pace. A classic tale pitting forces of good and evil once again at odds and in conflict.

K.J. Simmill

Courage of Ansgar is book 21 in The Windflower Saga by Aleksandra Layland. Edmond of Ingar had been raised in Aspatria, away from his birth place of Kimbria. They had left when he was a boy, and he had not returned, even for a visit. How he had been elected to be their king was beyond him. His mother made it clear that refusing, whilst a possibility since there were other people who could fit the requirements, was not really an option. But perhaps what he finds more daunting is that she is arranging for him to meet a potential consort from each of the four influential families. She doesn't want her son to take the throne a bachelor, but concedes that if none of the four makes a suitable partner, she will leave him to his own devices. The problem was, he wasn't convinced that the person he met would be the same person he married. A week of pretense was of little relevance where a crown was concerned, and he could very well find himself bound to someone so opposite to who they had pretended to be. Fortunately, his cousin has the perfect plan.

Courage of Ansgar is a great read, the kind you can pick up and lose yourself in effortlessly. I grew to really enjoy the characters, their interactions and exchanges. It was nicely portrayed and I really admired Kerys's character; a strong woman, whose skills and thoughts have made her and her line be viewed as somewhat anachronistic. The story flows with ease at a good pace, and is driven by character interactions. Whilst most readers will find some of the plot a little predictable, rest assured there may still be a surprise or two in store. I have read one of the other books by Aleksandra Layland, but I did find that this story worked as stand-alone. While knowledge of the cultures enhanced the story, the author did a splendid job of ensuring it wasn't required to use the preceding books as a crutch to support it. This is a sweet story of romance, love, support, and war ingrained with the true virtues of relationships.