More Naughty Norsemen: The Bodice-Ripping Era

For round two of our romp through Viking romance, we’ll focus on three vintage titles from the beloved old-skool era of Forced Seduction, Logic Fail and General WTFery.

I didn’t finish any of these — I dragged myself through the first half of each, but couldn’t find any reason to finish.

We’ll start with the least painful and save the vomit-worthy one for last.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Twin Passions by Miriam Minger

Twin Passions by Miriam Minger

  • Title: Twin Passions
  • Author: Miriam Minger
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Historical
  • Publisher: Paperjacks, November 1988 (self-pub ebook re-release 2010)
  • Source: Amazon (free promo, currently $3.99)
  • Length: 309 pages
  • Trope(s): Vikings
  • Quick blurb: Kidnapped by Vikings! Twin-Switching!
  • Quick review: A great start completely derailed by a ginormous Logic Fail at the halfway point.
  • Grade: DNF

Their melded bodies, bathed in a fine sheen of perspiration, were one in a wild dance of passion, swirling ever upward on a wave of rapture so intense that Gwendolyn thought she would surely die from the surging sensations.

Oh, I had such high hopes for this one. Because, really, with an original cover featuring lookalikes of pre-makeover Melanie Griffith in Working Girl and that chick from Crocodile Dundee and a random fake-tan Dynasty-type dude, in costumes from a period in history that never existed, how could this NOT be a winner?

Twin Passions by Miriam Minger - original 1988 cover

BOUND BY VIRTUE, HOSTAGE TO LOVE

Alas, it was not meant to be. I was fully engaged with this one right up until The Deflowering, in which the sight of boobs renders the hero so stupid that he doesn’t even notice that he’s bedding a different woman, who used to be a man.

kill-the-wabbit

Kinda like this. But not really.

He also fails to notice the whip marks from a flogging with a studded lash that he himself inflicted hours earlier. WTFery, indeed.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Viking! by Connie Mason

Viking! by Connie Mason

  • Title: Viking!
  • Author: Connie Mason
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Historical
  • Publisher: Leisure Books, July 1998 (self-pub ebook re-release 2012)
  • Source: Amazon ($3.99)
  • Length: 309 pages
  • Trope(s): Vikings
  • Quick blurb: Kidnapped by Vikings! Accusations of Witchcraft! Fake Marriage! Or Maybe It’s Real!?!
  • Quick review: The hero’s name is Thorne the Relentless. His sword is named Blood-drinker.
  • Grade: DNF

“The vital element missing in my dreams was the pleasure of piercing your sweet flesh with my mighty sword.”

Yes, I paid actual money for this. Shut up.

It wasn’t painful, but there wasn’t enough purple prose to make it worthwhile. I’ll let the rest of the quotes demonstrate the necessity of the DNF….

View the story “Viking! by Connie Mason” on Storify

…but let’s take a closer look at the original cover, shall we?

Viking! by Connie Mason

I’m guessing the publisher charged extra for the embossed golden V pointing directly at his throbbing manhood.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Educational Visual Interlude

To prepare for the Shriveling of the Brain Cells (see below), let us examine the intricacies of Norse mythology:

_viking_dance

The mysterious “Let’s Get High Before We
Sacrifice A Goat To Thor” Dance of the Merry Vikings

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Fires of Winter by Johanna Lindsey

Fires of Winter by Johanna Lindsey

  • Title: Fires of Winter
  • Author: Johanna Lindsey
  • Series: Haardrad Viking Family, Book 1
  • Genre(s): Historical
  • Publisher: Avon, September 1980 (self-pub ebook re-release 2010)
  • Source: Amazon (currently $1.99)
  • Length: 309 pages
  • Trope(s): Vikings
  • Quick blurb: Kidnapped by Vikings! Forced Seduction! Heroine Who Dresses Like A Boy!
  • Quick review: If I had finished this, it would have been an F-minus. It was DREADFUL.
  • Grade: DNF

That proud beast would surely tear her asunder and render her screaming for mercy.

When I started live-tweeting this, more than a few people claimed this book as their first adult romance. It’s a damn good thing I didn’t read this in 1980, because I would have been SCARRED FOR LIFE.

View the story “Fires of Winter by Johanna Lindsey” on Storify

I knew going in that this book is one of the infamous “forced seduction” romances. The opening chapter made a joke of rape, and The Deflowering scene is now burned in my memory as one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read. It might have worked as a parody, but the attempted humor was painfully uncomfortable.

By that point in the book, the Cringe Factor was already in a death spiral, primarily because of the TSTL female lead, who is now burned in my memory as the WORST “HEROINE” EVER. She would be the cause of the “doing unspeakable things to my Kindle” thing I mentioned in a previous post.

Fires of Winter by Johanna Lindsey - original 1980 cover

The original cover is the ONLY
good thing about this book.

And the writing. Uff da. Oy. UGH. I have a few others by Lindsey buried deep in the TBR queue, and I’m heartened by the fact that Fires of Winter was one of her earliest works. Honestly, without that knowledge, I would never read anything of hers again.

My Kindle notes include gems like these:

(1) Tigers aren’t venomous.

(2) There were no turkeys in medieval Norway.

(3) Ravens don’t wear cloaks.

And the heroine’s eyes. MY GOD, PEOPLE, SHE HAS GREY EYES! Not just ordinary grey eyes. These are stormy, cold, steely, silver, stormy, icy, evil, curious, flashing, wild, stormy, brooding, cunning, stormy  (did I mention STORMY???) grey eyes that glare, glance, shoot daggers, menace, narrow, darken, squint, accuse, disbelieve, pierce, sting, defy, baffle, sparkle, dart, ignite, glow, smolder and rage.

And the so-called “hero” doesn’t even name his sword. What kind of Viking doesn’t name his sword???

wabbit3

♫ “My spear and magic helmet…” ♫

There’s more — much more — to snark about, but it’s not worth the effort. There was NOTHING to redeem this book, and it’s going to take some SERIOUS loin-girding to get me to try another by Johanna Lindsey.

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