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Reviewed by Alex Ndirangu for Readers' Favorite
The Northmen have been ravaging villages along the coast and inland, and now the calm in Bayeux, Neustria, the Kingdom of the West Franks, is about to change. It is Easter Sunday, April 12th, AD 890, and many Bayeux residents are in church when the shouts and screams become louder. The Northmen are closing in, which can only mean one thing: war! Poppa's life will change irrevocably as unwelcome changes occur in this tranquil town. Her father agrees to submit to Hrólfr, the head of the Northmen, and have Poppa's hand joined to Hrólf's in marriage. Poppa is only 14 at this point, and Hrólfr isn't particularly attracted to his young bride. He leaves Poppa and sets off to advance his political objectives. Their life together after Poppa joins him will be unpredictable and could leave Poppa feeling betrayed by her husband. How will Poppa demonstrate that she can rise above the harsh realities that life has thrown her way? She may forgive her husband, but will she continue to love him the same way? Pick up a copy of Cathie Dunn's Ascent to find out.
Cathie Dunn transports us back over a thousand years in the most meaningful way that will appeal to any reader. She has woven an intriguing story using the scant information we have about the period and its key players. The blissful love story included in the book added to the thrill. The setting was made more beautiful by the community and individuals in the tale. There were friends, foes, and allies, and each was motivated differently, whether by love, hatred, or greed. The story flowed beautifully. I never expected such a complex plot whose ending would be riveting and unusual. Every character was brilliant and well-developed, from A' Star to the supporting cast. They all played significant roles, which helped me remember them. The list of characters at the beginning was most helpful in providing a quick reference every time I returned to the story. Ascent would satisfy any reader looking for a well-written work of historical fiction.