Undercurrent, by Michelle Griep (Risen Books, 2011)
In late-tenth-century Norway, Alarik regains consciousness to discover his cousin bleeding and his brother dead by Alarik’s own blade. With no memory of the fight, Alarik must flee or be executed.
Meanwhile, in the present day, Cassie Larson is a career-oriented professor and linguistics expert shepherding a group of university students on a tour of historic islands in England’s Northumberland Strait—until she falls over the side of the boat and surfaces beside Alarik’s small vessel.
Alarik’s cousin, Ragnar, is their village’s only Christian, who longs to convince his people of his Saviour’s reality and Alarik’s innocence. He’s often ridiculed, and his disfigured face keeps him unmarried, yet he dreams of a woman speaking a strange language, who will love him.
In some ways Undercurrent is a historical romance, filled with rich details of Alarik’s place and time. It’s also a time-travel fish-out-of-water story as a self-sufficient woman of our day learns to function in a primitive, male-dominated Viking society.
I enjoyed the characters, the peek into this period in history, and the occasional humour. Ragnar’s sincerity of faith is a good challenge to present-day Christians who may not feel our roles as ambassadors quite as strongly as he does among his people.
Michelle Griep has a fast-moving writing style that drew me in and made me care about the people and their circumstances. You can learn more about Michelle Griep at her website and her blog, Writer Off the Leash. She’s also the author of Gallimore and A Heart Deceived.