Fifty Shades of Frey

There’s something sexy about Vikings, or at least there is among the heaving bosom genre of dime store romance novels.  I assume it has to do with the same phenomenon that is making EL James’ teenage sons cringe – that harried suburban moms long for a bit of excitement and danger, be that entering into a torrid kinky affair with a young businessman or, for the purposes of my post today, being carried off by a hairless, muscular Viking.  I thought today I would test my interpretive skills on what we can tell about these books while judging them by their covers!

Section 1: Sandra Hill

Over half of the Viking romance books I found were written by Sandra Hill.  Her website doesn’t allude to any formal study of Vikings, but then again nobody is reading these for the historical accuracy.  She doesn’t write exclusively Viking fiction, but it does seem to be her trademark.

In this story a Viking clearly based on John Stamos has fallen in love.  He has fallen in love with a woman who clearly must be from the Mediterranean because that shoulderless dress is a recipe for pneumonia in the British Isles.

My how the tables have turned!  The captor has now become the captive.  A deliciously historical way to spice up the bedroom, straight from the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine!

Bewitched?  He seems way more overconfident than bewitched, to me.  The creepiest part of this is that I’m sure that’s how that model hits on women in real life.

O.K., I know this doesn’t appear to be explicitly Viking in nature, but I must admit I am intrigued by that tagline at the bottom…

Section 2: Everyone Else

This Viking is a Native American, apparently?

Is it just me or is HE the unwilling looking one in this picture?

Since I see no heaving bosoms, I wonder if this is merely a very poorly designed cover for a gritty, bloody, piece of historical fiction.  Though, judging by his six pack and the half-hearted way he’s swinging that axe, I would guess not.

Clearly, Ms. Irving just wants to cut to the chase.  I bet it starts with “There was a Viking.  He was in my bed.  Then, we made love.  This is how it went…”

Judging by the crappy computer generated image and the fact that you clearly can’t see that woman’s hands, I’d guess this is the raunchiest of the bunch except that Viking is apparently a Christian.

Joanna Fulford brings us back to romance with this exploration of the Old Norse concept of “first base.”

I have not, in fact, read any of these books and after looking at the tag lines I’m starting to think that’s a shame.  What about you?  What’s your favorite Viking Romance?

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3 Responses to Fifty Shades of Frey

  1. Halla says:

    Great entry! I loved it xD All those covers look so non-Norse at all! I think there’s a similar trend of romantic fiction about Highlanders, with the same degree of historical accuracy than these xD

  2. Gunderson's Lady says:

    Y’know Archie, when I was in Library School I wrote a great big research paper on the “Regency Romance” genre. For my research, I had to read many, many examples of romance novels set in Regency England. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the covers, though, and this post makes me think I should have. It also kinda makes me want to go out and read some Viking Romances. Anyhow, Library School is pretty great.

  3. Amber says:

    A new historical fiction novel has surfaced on It’s called Frey’s Saga by L.K. Hill and I highly recommend it if you want to read a historically correct novel. It also has romance, mystery, and a beserker named Bjorn.

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