Immortal Champion by Lisa Hendrix
Paperback: 336 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Berkley
Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance
Immortal Champion is the third book in the Immortal Brotherhood series by Lisa Hendrix. Although I did not read the first two books prior to reading Immortal Champion, I had no trouble picking up in the middle of the series. This book can be read as standalone.
Gunnar the Red is part of a group of Viking Warriors that have been cursed with immortality. He lives as a man by night but when the sunrise comes his curse forces him to shift into the form of a bull. Two of his brethren have found love and a way to break the curse, however Gunnar feels there is no hope for him as he must retreat to the forest during the day while he is in his beast form as to avoid detection. He leads a lonely life full of despair. He has no idea how his destiny will be changed when he saves the life of a young lady of nobility one fateful night.
Eleanor is of noble blood and quite a feisty character. She is bound by duty and tradition to marry as her father sees fit but she only has eyes for the handsome knight that saved her from a fire when she was a teen. Although her knight does not know it, she awaits his return to take her away from the life she knows and her obligation to marry a man she does not love.
Immortal Champion is a lovely historical infused with a paranormal twist. The story takes place over the course of several years, starting with Eleanor as a child when she and Gunnar first meet. When they are reunited years later Eleanor is a young woman and her father plans to betroth her in hopes of gaining social, political and financial gain. Eleanor has never forgotten Gunnar and has been awaiting return, convinced he is her true destiny.
Although Eleanor lives in a time where women have little say in where they live and with whom, she is quite cunning and capable of managing those around her in such a way that they do not realize they are being managed. Some might say she is manipulative but that has a negative implication and I didn’t see her in a negative light at all. I found her to be a bright, smart heroine determined to control her own fate.
Gunnar is a hero full of angst. He is sad and lonely and truly believes he will live an eternity with his curse even though two of his fellow warriors have broken the curse and found love. Even when Gunnar suspects he may have found salvation, his doubt and fear of betrayal are quite stifling to him. Because this story takes place over several years, the romantic relationship between Eleanor and Gunnar is a very slow build. That combined with Gunnar’s angst creates a good deal of tension and anticipation for their coming together, however at times I felt the pacing was a little too slow.
Lisa Hendrix is very effective in creating a vivid setting and lovely, fluid dialog between her characters. This story is set in a specific time period and the setting is presented effectively but gently allowing the reader to be placed within the time period organically through the eyes of her characters.
Immortal Champion is a romantic historical tale of fated love with a feisty heroine, a tortured hero, and a good mix of magic, mysticism and paranormal elements. I enjoyed this story and look forward to reading the happily-ever-after tales of Gunnar’s fellow warriors.
The traces of your perfume gave me much comfort last night.” If she knew what kind of comfort, she’d slap him.
Stop back later today for an interview with Lisa Hendrix and a giveaway.