Beautiful Wreck by Larissa Brown

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4 stars****
This book was definitely a pleasant surprise. I'm not a huge fan of LENGTHY novels but decided to give this one a go because of all of the glowing reviews. I wasn't disappointed... this author clearly did her homework and presents us with a story that does an excellent job of transporting us to this old Viking homestead in the past.
I do have a few tiny negatives so I'll get those out of the way first. The beginning of this book was a bit of a struggle, it didn't flow well. More attention really needed to be made towards describing the modern world... it was interesting and I wanted to know more. The story for me did not really kick into high gear until Ginn woke up in the past on a beach next to the ocean. But, the entire story after that was really, really engaging. I'm also not a huge fan of this cover... it seems more suited for a YA... this book needs a cover that will draw in the adult reader.
I loved the character of Heirik.. a man born with a large bloody birthmark that stains the side of his face all the way down his arm. His blood was said to be cursed so he vowed never to marry believing that his cursed blood would infect his offspring and bring bad luck to those he loved. He had never really been touched by anyone... but, he does long for it. I was very moved by his devotion to the clan as their chief despite the fact that they all feared him and refused to touch him.
That is why this is NOT a hot and steamy romance. Breaking through Heirik's belief that he was cursed was a very slow process. He wants her but refuses to do anything that may bring her or his family harm. When someone believes in something that fiercely it takes time to break down those barriers. I could feel the tension between them coming off the pages... I had the urge to reach into the book and nudge Heirik because I wanted him to experience the touch of a woman's love. He deserved it so much.
The other part of this book is mostly about Ginn falling in love with her new home in the past and realizing this was where she belonged. She forms beautiful friendships and a deep appreciation for the land that surrounded her. Living in this time was hard work... but, I think Ginn learned to appreciate the rewards of that hard work simply because she came from a time where anything you needed was always right there for you. A beautiful dress was a treasure... because of the length of time it took to make them. I like the way this book highlighted how easily we can take things for granted... even the shirts we have on our backs.
This is NOT an action filled, steamy historical romance... this is more of a slow building love story for the land and time that Ginn fell into and for this fierce, curse stricken Chief named Heirik. It is well written, engaging, unique and creative.
I would recommend this one for lovers of historical/time-travel romance... and anyone who loves diving into those lengthy well written novels!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.
In a bleak future built on virtual reality, Ginn is a romantic who yearns for something real. She designs environments for people who play at being Vikings. But when her project goes awry, she’s stranded in the actual 10th century, on a storybook farm in Viking Iceland.

Heirik is the young leader of his family, honored by the men and women who live on his land. But he is feared and isolated because of a terrible curse. Ginn and Heirik are two people who never thought they would find a home in someone else’s heart.

When forces rise against them to keep them apart, Ginn is called on to decide—will she give up the brutal and beautiful reality of the past? Or will she have the courage to traverse time and become more of a Viking than she ever imagined?

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