Sigrun's Secret by Marie-Louise Jensen (Published by Oxford University Press, January 6, 2011)
Fifteen-year-old Sigrun lives a peaceful life with her family on their farm in Iceland in the 9th century. All she knows about her family's history is that her father was once a chieftain in Norway and he and her mother moved to Iceland twenty years ago to start a settlement. Sigrun is happy because her brother and her best friend, Ingvar, have just returned from a year spent traveling to Ireland to trade. At first she barely recognizes Ingvar, who has grown into a young man during the past year. Sigrun is confused by the new feelings she has for her childhood friend.
Just as Sigrun begins to realize how she truly feels about Ingvar, her world falls apart. Her father is accused of being a murderer and an imposter and is banished from Iceland for three years, and Sigrun and her brother must go into exile with him while their mother stays behind to look after their farm. Sigrun is heartbroken at leaving behind her home, her friends, and Ingvar, when she has only just realized that she has fallen in love with him. After leaving Iceland, Sigrun, her brother, and their father travel to the city of Jorvik (now York, England), which was ruled by Scandanavians in the late 9th and early 10th centuries. Jorvik is very different from Sigrun's peaceful countryside home in Iceland, and she doesn't like living in a noisy and dirty city. I found this part of the story particularly interesting as I always had thought of the Vikings as just being raiders who attacked and then left and I didn't know they had controlled such a large part of what is now England.
I have loved everything I have read by Marie-Louise Jensen and Sigrun's Secret is no exception. All of her books have wonderful main characters and interesting and unusual historical settings. This book is a sequel of sorts to her previous book Daughter of Fire and Ice, which told the story of Sigrun's parents and their journey to Iceland. However you do not need to have read the previous book to enjoy or understand this one. If you enjoy historical fiction and historical romance I highly recommend this book and others by the author, and I can't wait to read her next book.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.