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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Call of the Sea is a work of fiction in the historical fiction and romance subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Sian Ann Bessey. The book follows a young woman named Rhiannon who witnesses her father’s murder at the hands of Viking raiders the day before she is to be wed to a stranger. As she travels to find meaning in her suffering, she meets Leif, a young Viking who was part of the raiding party and witnessed the murder. Guilty at his own inaction, Leif joins Rhiannon as they seek out the source of the conflict whilst growing closer.
I absolutely fell in love with the feudal world in which this story takes place and the beautiful vistas and surroundings in which the events of the story unfold serve to make the heartbreak and challenges faced by Rhiannon and Leif all the more bittersweet. Author Sian Ann Bessey has a gift for painting beautiful scenery with words alone, transporting readers to a world far away and lost to time. Such a setting would be wasted, however, if it weren’t also accompanied by three-dimensional characters and a sweeping tale to take place in it. Fortunately, The Call of the Sea delivers on both fronts, with Rhiannon and Leif both going through emotional growth over the course of the story that is wonderful to watch unfold. The romance that begins to blossom as they face adversity together is excellently paced and always feels like a completely organic development between the two, culminating in a historical romance that understands both the beauty of the world in which it lives and the nature of love’s growth.