Here’s the blurb
A brutal Viking raid heralds the dawn of a new, powerful dynasty – the House of Normandy
Neustria, Kingdom of the West Franks
Fourteen-year-old Poppa’s life changes when Northmen land near Bayeux. Count Bérengar, her father, submits to them, and she is handfasted to Hrólfr, the Northmen’s heathen leader, as part of their agreement.
To her relief, Hrólfr leaves immediately in search of further conquest, only returning to claim her years later. In the face of retaliating Franks, they flee to East Anglia, where she gives birth to their son and daughter.
When Hrólfr and Poppa return to reclaim Bayeux, his new campaign strikes at the heart of Frankish power, and King Charles of the West Franks offers him a pact he cannot refuse. In exchange for vast tracts of land in Neustria, Hrólfr must convert to Christianity and accept marriage to Gisela, the king’s illegitimate daughter.
Poppa’s world shatters. She remains in Bayeux, with her daughter, Adela. When Gisela arrives one day, demanding she hand over Adela, to be raised in Rouen, Poppa’s patience is at an end. But Gisela makes for a dangerous enemy, and only one woman will survive their confrontation high up on the cliffs.
Will Poppa live to witness the dawn of a new era?
ASCENT is the first in a new series about the early women of the House of Normandy – women whose stories have been forgotten through time.
Readers of Viking and medieval fiction will enjoy ASCENT, a fictional account of the life of Poppa of Bayeux, handfasted wife of Rollo the Viking.
Trigger warning: Loss of a child. Some battle and fighting scenes.
Amazon US: Amazon UK: Amazon CA: Amazon AU:
Ascent tells the story of how the Duchy of Normandy formed, through the eyes of both Poppa, wed to the man many of us will know as Rollo and Rollo himself.
This is a fascinating period, at the end of the ninth century and the beginning of the tenth, when the focus of the Viking raiders had shifted from just trying to plunder, kill and steal to wanting to find new homes for themselves. While some of the story takes places in England, the focus is on the West Frankish lands, and there are familiar names here, Charles III, the king of the West Franks, the most well-known of them all.
Poppa is a strong-willed woman, but her life isn’t without hardship and suffering. Rollo, or Hrolfr, is a Viking raider, but with an eye to the future and ambition to match it. The evolving story is well portrayed, focusing on several life-changing moments as the tale progresses as it covers their entire lives after meeting.
I feel the book really comes into its own from about halfway through, and I powered through the remainder of the story. Poppa and Hrolfr are both ambitious and strong-willed, with an eye to the future, and such ambition is well portrayed without us disliking either of them. Their friends and allies also provide moments of intense sorrow and triumph as Dunn weaves a tale of the era, bringing in far-flung places, such as Orkney, which were all closely interconnected to men and women of the sea.
Constructed using incredibly scarce surviving sources (I know, I’ve studied this period, and it is mind-glowingly confusing), Ascent, the first book in the stories of Normandy, is sure to appeal to those interested in tales of historically strong women, in the formation of Normandy and also in this turbulent period when the Viking raiders – or the Normans as they came to be known – claimed a toe-hold on Frankish soil which was to have far-reaching consequences. I look forward to book 2.
Meet the author
Cathie Dunn is an award-winning author of historical fiction, mystery, and romance. The focus of her historical fiction novels is on strong women through time.
Cathie has been writing for over twenty years. She studied Creative Writing online, with a focus on novel writing, which she also taught in the south of France. She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books, and visiting castles and historic sites. A voracious reader, primarily of historical fiction / romance, she often reviews books on her blog, Ruins & Reading.
Cathie is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Richard III Society, and the Alliance of Independent Authors.
After many years in Scotland, Cathie now lives in south of France with her husband, and rescued Charlie Cat and Ellie Dog. Discover more about Cathie at http://www.cathiedunn.com!
Connect with Cathie
Amazon Author Page:
Ruins & Reading FB group:
Giveaway to Win a signed paperback copy of Ascent by Cathie Dunn (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.