Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
Ansgar: The Struggle of a People, The Triumph of the Heart is complete in itself, and a worthy Part I of The Windflower Saga trilogy by Aleksandra Layland. The greater part of the story centres on the life of Ansgar, a duke of the royal house of Kimbria, shipwrecked and given up for dead. He survives, and is cared for at a monastery, where he regains his memory, but takes the vows of a humble lay brother. Kimbria was torn apart by his warmongering forebears and those of its indigenous people, the Kimbrii, who escaped slaughter or slavery, are few. Can Ansgar find these people? If he does, will he be made welcome and live to intercede on their behalf with the king? Is it possible that Kimbria can once more become a united country, and is there happiness in Ansgar’s own future?
Aleksandra Layland has written a fantasy that is more than a fantasy; it is a dream for a future that would be possible if people worldwide believed in the One God and lived according to His teaching. Keholani is a clan chief, heiress to the high chiefdom of the Kimbrii, who live by a gentle code of caring for all as they would wish to be cared for, and it is she Ansgar marries: a marriage of equals unheard of by his people. I loved Ansgar: The Struggle of a People, The Triumph of the Heart for its drama, realistic politics of greed and war, sense of family, and the tender romance. Aleksandra Layland challenges Nicholas Sparks and Michael Ondaatje for a place in literary history.