Book Review - Jilliand: A Story of Love and Freedom
"Jilliand," by Claire Gutierrez, is about the lives of an English woman called Jilliand and a Viking man called Rurik. It's action-filled and quite romantic, without too much over-the-top fluff. It is a story of a woman empowered, and overcoming the sharpest of life's twists and turns.
Personally, I thought the story started out a little bit slow, but after the first few chapters, I was hooked. As in, I stayed up all night reading this book because I couldn't put it down, hooked. As in, after I finished it I thought about it for days, hooked. If you're into historical fiction, romance, vikings, medieval England - you've got to read this book.
Instead of boring you with anymore of a vague summary, I thought I'd share the notes I took while reading. There are slight spoilers ahead, so beware and enjoy.
Intriguing from the start. Prologue is brief, but it contains just enough. First chapter is very vague, but chapter two immediately fills you in with nice detail. Not so cheesy. Descriptions of violence, honestly to be expected within the time.
Lots of violence actually. It's a good story so far, but it's lacking in something. Emotion, I think. Personally, I love when a story hooks me emotionally. If a story makes me cry, be it happy or sad, then it's a good one. "Jilliand" has my attention, and I find myself reading quite a bit at a time, but it doesn't make me feel anything.
The title character is a strong woman, who really comes into her own. Realistically, you would think her mental health should be worse than it reads, but I suppose that's neither here nor there. Not every story has to be so serious in every single aspect.
As the story goes on, the bond between Jilliand and Rurik grows, and there's a bit of emotion, finally. The descriptions are all fantastic tbh. They really paint a picture.
Towards the latter side of the middle, it's quite happy, then quite sad, with a plot twist that is slightly alluded to, but no less shocking. By now I am emotionally invested.
Holy hell, another plot twist.
... and tears have been shed.
I am a big fan of history and historical fiction. To me, the sign of a good book in either of these categories, is one that leaves me pausing mid sentence for a curious research break, be it about specific characters or ways of life.
"Jilliand" is, quite simply, an action-filled love story, and I highly recommend it.