Our latest read-aloud:
Beorn the Proud, by Madeleine Polland, is set in ninth century Ireland and Denmark and follows the young lives of Ness, an Irish Christian girl, and Beorn, a pagan Viking boy who, in a raid on Ness's village, takes Ness as his slave.
The brutality of the Vikings is realistically portrayed from the opening pages: Ness's village has been destroyed, her family murdered. But we see, too, early in the story, a glimmer of hope for Beorn's future.
The clashes of culture, religion, and personality are deftly drawn. The power of slow but steady evangelization, the importance of knowing one's faith (in order to pass it on to others) and the beauty of conversion are at the heart of this story, which is also a rattlin' good tale of action and adventure.
Betsy gives it five stars. Anne-with-an-e enjoyed it, but perhaps not quite as much as Betsy did (though Anne was grateful for a female protagonist for a change, and is also looking forward to The Striped Ships. And, she's hanging on for all of our Joan of Arc reading.)