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  • Writer's pictureDiana K Holmes

Book Review: Echoes of the Runes

Echoes of the Runes by Christina Courtenay

Recommended—Interesting Viking/Swedish setting and historical background.

What happens

Mia (half-Swedish, half-Welsh) inherits her grandmother’s lakeside house in Sweden which is rich in Viking history. Leaving her fiancé in London, she joins an archaeological dig in the grounds of the house for the summer, working alongside an archaeologist, Haakon, who appears to have similarly strong reactions to the historic surroundings as she does. As they work to uncover the history of the area and its inhabitants both Mia and Haakon have to deal with strange visions taking them back in time, as well as their growing feelings for each other.

Dual timelines

(i) Contemporary (2000) London & Sweden

(ii) 9th-century Sweden

The dual timelines intertwine frequently providing parallel storylines in the same Swedish lakeside setting.


The book has two strong romances with both heroes being suitably Viking—tall and strong, and the two women also resembling each other with their Welsh/Celtic heritage. If you like to read romance novels, you’ll definitely enjoy this book.

Best Bits

For me, the best parts of the book were the historical details of the Viking settlement and the settings—both contemporary and historical.

From the author’s note it appears that Swedish history is a passion of hers, and it definitely shows. I love books where the past comes to life and it definitely did in this book.

Both contemporary and historical settings in Sweden were very evocative and convincing and I could just imagine myself holidaying in the picturesque cottage by the lake.

Diana’s Thoughts

Christina Courtenay writes with a passion about Sweden’s Viking history and archaeology which I found enthralling. Present-day Sweden was also interesting as I knew nothing about it and enjoyed learning about its food and culture.

While I felt the romances might be a little too predictable for me I still enjoyed them, and the story came to a very satisfying conclusion. Maybe the baddies were a bit too bad and the goodies, a bit too good for my taste.

If you enjoy dual timeline books with wonderfully researched history and a big helping of romance, you should check out this book. It has a nice ‘happy ever after’ ending with a strong family vibe.


Official Blurb:

Their love was forbidden. But echoed in eternity. When Mia inherits her beloved grandmother's summer cottage, Birch Thorpe, in Sweden, she faces a dilemma. Her fiance Charles urges her to sell and buy a swanky London home, but Mia cannot let it go easily. The request to carry out an archaeological dig for more Viking artefacts like the gold ring Mia's grandmother also left her, offers her a reprieve from a decision - and from Charles. Whilst Mia becomes absorbed in the dig's discoveries, she finds herself drawn to archaeologist Haakon Berger. Like her, he can sense the past inhabitants whose lives are becoming more vivid every day. Trying to resist the growing attraction between them, Mia and Haakon begin to piece together the story of a Welsh noblewoman, Ceri, and the mysterious Viking, known as the 'White Hawk', who stole her away from her people in 869 AD. As the present begins to echo the past, and enemies threaten Birch Thorpe's inhabitants, they will all have to fight to protect what has become most precious to each of them...

· Publisher: Headline Review, 2020

· Language: English

· ISBN-13: 9781472268266

· Pages: 343

Where to buy

Echoes of the Runes

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