Fiona

Book Two of The Viking Treasure Huntress Series

Romance - Historical
627 Pages
Reviewed on 06/28/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Fiona: Book Two of the Viking Treasure Huntress Series by Ann Boelter is the continuation of the stories of the creator and the captains of the remarkable Viking vessel, the Treasure Huntress. Originally built by Sigurd as a tribute to his dying wife, for Jarl, the Treasure Huntress was the most magnificent of Viking vessels that would form the basis for Jarl’s future raids on all the nations that now make up the British Isles and Northern Ireland. As part of Jarl’s agreement with Sigurd, the Treasure Huntress could never be sold; she could only be gifted to the next deserving captain. When Jarl falls madly in love and marries, he retires and gifts Treasure Huntress to his first mate and lifelong friend, Gunnar. Whilst raiding in Ireland, Gunnar’s small party collecting slaves for resale is set upon by a group determined to free the slaves from the Vikings' clutches. The attackers are led by a woman, but not just any woman; a beautiful, Irish, high-born lady, Lady Fiona. Obsessed with Fiona, Gunnar determines that somehow, on this trip to Ireland, he will meet and spend time with the woman who has captured his imagination and exact his revenge for the theft of his slaves. But deep down, Gunnar knows this remarkable woman will play an enormous part in his future.

Although Fiona is the second book in the series, you absolutely do not have to read the first book to understand and enjoy this one. My question, though, would be that given the quality and depth of this story, why wouldn’t you want to read the first one? Author Ann Boelter does an exceptional job of priming readers for this story, with a brief summary at the beginning of the circumstances leading to the building of Treasure Huntress. Each of these books is a complete story in itself and stands alone as a fantastic read. The author’s ability to transport the reader to 10th-century Ireland is exceptional and her lyrical descriptions of the locality, customs, and life in this country, torn asunder not only by Viking domination but also by internecine fighting between the dominant clans of Ireland, are simply breathtaking and an absolute joy to read. The romantic scenes were as good as any I have read and never crossed the thin line between eroticism and crudity. They were simply as breathtaking and as exciting as all of this amazing story. I particularly enjoyed the character of the cunning and clever Eamon, the boy who had worked his way up from nothing to now be Gunnar’s right-hand man. I can easily picture Eamon as the principal character in one of these stories, perhaps two books from now? A good solid length for a novel, this truly was a joy to read and I can highly recommend it.

Asher Syed

Ann Boelter's The Viking Treasure Huntress series launched with the Readers' Favorite gold medal-winning Nena. Book two, Fiona, has now set sail on a new course with a new crew of characters in line with the theme of following the longship boat Treasure Huntress with each passing generation. Gunnar is a 10th-century Viking and captain of Treasure Huntress. Fiona is an Irish gentlewoman with a noble bloodline and from a respected landed family. Fiona is repulsed by slavery and ends up in Gunnar's crosshairs when the foreign Northman sets foot in Ireland to buy slaves. Now owed a debt for losses, Gunnar extracts a promise from Fiona that begins as a way for the Irishwoman to free herself from the Viking and free his slaves. It ends with Gunnar and Fiona entangled further than either could have imagined.

Fiona by Ann Boelter is a book that I was drawn to by its singular use of Treasure Huntress as the series tie-in. Funnily enough, I was in Stavanger, Norway when I started reading it and polished it off quickly before I returned home to the UK. Location definitely added to the reading experience but Boelter's prose and intriguing storyline were the reason it made it back home with me, to begin with. I veer toward fiction set in pre-15th European history and have over the last several years paid particular attention to the Viking Age. Historical romance is a stretch but one I will happily make if a plot is sound and Fiona is 100% rock solid. Boelter brings book one's main character Nena back and the dynamic between Nena and Jarl is incentive enough to go back and read it. At the same time, while Gunnar is away, and in a subplot that no respectable historical romance can be without, Fiona is betrothed to another. Fiona and Gunnar in their “real lives” when they are not together is as good as when they are, and that says a heck of a lot about the quality of storytelling. Great story, great book, highly recommended.

Jamie Michele

Fiona by Ann Boelter is a historical romance adventure saga and the second book in The Viking Treasure Huntress series, preceded by book one, the critically acclaimed and award winning novel, Nena. Boelter makes her series unique in that each instalment revolves around the titular longship, Treasure Huntress. As the sagas progress, so too does the arc and significance of the ship and the ascendancy of the next to command her. Lady Fiona O’Neill is an Irish aristocrat whose connection to the ship is made when Gunnar, its Norse captain, proposes a trade after the Treasure Huntress is marred by Fiona's cause: her company while it's restored in exchange for the Northman leaving without any slaves. The brisk chill of the Emerald Isle is no match for the heat between Fiona and Gunnar when both find their hearts softening, but the distance and difficulty of any future for them together is as dangerous to navigate as the Irish Sea. “You’re playing with fire, and she’s the one who’s going to get burned. If you care about her at all, you’ll stop this now—before it goes too far.”

I started The Viking Treasure Huntress series out of order and Fiona is the first of Ann Boelter's novels I've personally read. The writing is exceptional. It is tight, clean, and descriptive without dumping historical facts on a reader. The details are on point and authentic, and Boelter is skilled at showing a reader what is happening as opposed to just telling us. I really enjoyed the portrayal of ancillary characters and there is a particular stretch of time where Fiona and Gunnar are left to their own devices, which is one of those historical details to which Boelter remains true. Gunnar is a Viking. He's not going to sit around a nobleman's house reading scrolls by the fire. His word and his reputation amongst his contemporaries are more important than anything. These details extend also to Gunnar's violent past, and I struggled with liking him throughout the entirety of the novel on account of an admission he makes regarding an unforgivable crime prior to a former union. As for his relationship with Fiona, the sizzle factor is meteoric. Overall, this is a delicious read and I have no doubt others who love historical romance will feel the same way.

K.C. Finn

Fiona is a work of fiction in the historical romance, adventure, and drama subgenres and serves as the second installment of the Viking Treasure Huntress series. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by Ann Boelter. Continuing the voyage of the Treasure Huntress, now under the command of Gunnar, the ship and its crew wait for an opportunity to return home but are delayed by rivers that have not yet thawed. After purchasing the slaves needed to make the journey home, only to have them liberated by the dangerous and mysterious Fiona, Gunnar’s revenge for the theft may be as difficult as the rest of his journey.

I enjoy the premise of the Viking Treasure Huntress series in having a new lead protagonist promoted from the supporting characters of the previous story, as it allows for a coherent series of books that also stand completely alone. Ann Boelter demonstrates the effectiveness of this setup by shifting the tone with new captain Gunnar whose brush with Fiona, a woman bold enough to steal from a veteran Viking raider, leads him into a world beyond his violent nature. The artistry in this book lies in the evolving character development of Gunnar who dynamically grows throughout the story as he is drawn further out of his comfort zone by Fiona. The mark of a well-realized character is that their characterization is not just deep and well-considered but also changing in response to the story, and Fiona hits the mark on this score with Gunnar’s character growth throughout.

Jennifer Ibiam

The iconic ship named Treasure Huntress passed from Jarl to his third in command, Gunnar. Gunnar was a tall, handsome, and fierce Viking who couldn’t care less about romance, but fate had other plans. On his way back from buying slaves in Dublin, a woman attacked his entourage and freed them. While that was happening, someone damaged and tried to sink his prized ship. Someone had guts, and there would be hell to pay! Gunnar went after the freed men and stumbled on the Irishwoman who caused his loss. Her name was Fiona, a beautiful high born woman with a fierce temper. She took his breath away, and his desire for revenge warred with submission. Will the savage Viking and the rude Irishwoman overcome the mutual hate lingering between both tribes for centuries? Find out in Fiona by Ann Boelter.

Fiona by Ann Boelter is the second installment in The Viking Treasure Huntress Series. This book was lengthy but captivating and worth my while. I’ve read about the savagery, raids, brutality, fearlessness, and pillaging by Vikings. But to see such fierce men turn to mush for their women was a sight. It was a whole lot of warrior love going on. I fell in love with this novel from the first chapter and wish I’d met Leila as a young woman. Her strength, determination, and insight were enviable. Gunnar was my favorite character because beneath his rude appearance was a man of intellect. Fiona also captured my heart because she was a perfect blend between refined and wild. This novel had a unique storyline, excellent development, and a brilliant plot. I also loved the use of language for the tenth-century-themed novel. Ann has an active imagination, and I can’t wait for Rask’s and Eamon’s stories.