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The Reluctant Berserker [Kindle Edition]

Alex Beecroft
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
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Book Description

Manhood is about more than who’s on top.

Wulfstan, a noble and fearsome Saxon warrior, has spent most of his life hiding the fact that he would love to be cherished by someone stronger than himself. Not some slight, beautiful nobody of a harper who pushes him up against a wall and kisses him.

In the aftermath, Wulfstan isn’t sure what he regrets most—that he only punched the churl in the face, or that he really wanted to give in.

Leofgar is determined to prove he’s as much of a man as any Saxon. But now he’s got a bigger problem than a bloody nose. The lord who’s given him shelter from the killing cold is eyeing him like a wolf eyes a wounded hare.

When Wulfstan accidentally kills a friend who is about to blurt his secret, he flees in panic and meets Leofgar, who is on the run from his lord’s lust. Together, pursued by a mother’s curse, they battle guilt, outlaws, and the powers of the underworld, armed only with music…and love that must overcome murderous shame to survive.

Warning: Contains accurate depictions of Vikings, Dark Ages magic, kickass musicians, trope subversions and men who don’t know their place.

Product Details

  • File Size: 440 KB
  • Print Length: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (February 25, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ER55JXC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,310 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Reluctant Berserker by Alex Beecroft February 26, 2014
As hard it as may be now for a man to be attracted to another man, in the eighth century it was deadly. Real men did not submit to anyone; it could cost you your life and reputation. Wulfstan, of 'The Reluctant Berserker', is a fierce warrior, admired and respected by everyone for his warrior skills and his volatile temper. Few men even attempt to cross him and those who do, end up either badly wounded or dead. Wulfstan has done everything expected of him all of his life in order to gain his current measure of respect, but he feels totally dishonorable because the man he appears to be on the outside, is not the person he is inside. Instead of being in control all the time, he'd like to be able to surrender that burden, in the arms of another man.

Wulfstan is a warrior, a deadly force to be reckoned with if you are his enemy, but if you are someone who needs help, either nobleman or a slave, he provides it. He's a contradiction in many ways, but his main disparity is that he acts tough, even brutal sometimes, but in his heart, he's a gentle giant, wanting someone to love whom he can give his heart and body to, if only he could get past all of the guilt he feels. The church teachings say that wanting another man is a sin and he doesn't want to condemn himself or anyone else to hell so he refrains. His desire to be on the bottom makes him feel less than a man. He's so terrified that the other men will find out that he kills his best friend accidentally when he threatens to betray Wulfstan, heaping even more guilt on himself. I felt a great deal of compassion for Wulfstan and the more I learned about him, the more I loved him. Wulfstan is a very special man, a real man in my estimation, who would take on someone else's burden if possible without consideration for himself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked but had issues April 14, 2014
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I usually love Alex Beecroft's books, but I have read a review by somebody whose tastes I really trust months ago and her review was the reason why I was hesitant to pick it up. I caved in eventually as you can see :-)

Let's get something very important out of the way - I thought the writing was as beautiful as ever , I absolutely was transformed to another time and I did not feel that I was reading about the people with contemporary mentalities dressed up in the historical costumes, no these characters truly felt like people from different times. Of course there were things I could relate to them as one human being to another, but they did not think as my contemporaries. So the book definitely did for me what I want historical to do. I am not very knowledgeable about Saxons, and I have no desire to do even a brief fact checking, but since usually this author is very good with her research, I am going to take her on faith. Historical settings are definitely written with the air of authority.

I also thought both guys' struggle to accept who they were inside and how it matched who they were outside was very well done. I really liked their love story. I still was not sure if in modern terms Wulfar was a transgender, or just wanted to be a submissive in bed, but who cares, I had a great deal of sympathy for him and Leondar.

Basically the review which stopped me from getting the book said that at the end the book became too preachy in a Christianity saves the day kind of thing (paraphrase), except to me it did not come out of the left field at all, I thought the writer foreshadowed it very well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars MM Historical Delight May 16, 2014
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Ms. Beecroft has the wonderful ability to set a scene so that it is vivid in your mind and then to lace it with language that puts you soundly into a different place in time. This is something we don't get in our contemporary reading and reminds me why I was hooked on MF historical romances for so many years.

Ahhhh, I could feel Wulfstan's deep sigh of happiness as I finished reading this lovely historical. Wulfstan is a warrior who wants to submit to a lover and Leofgar is a scop (musician and a poet-singer - I looked it up!) who travels from place to place to earn his living. When these two meet there is immediate chemistry but this meeting does not end well and it is some time before they cross paths again.

I loved that the author chose the manly Wulfstan to be the character who wanted to be dominated by a lover while still being a respected warrior. Wulfstan, it turns out is the character the title reflects, as he has a temper that blinds him at times, like a berserker.

Leofgar is not a submissive man, though fate gave him the delicate looks that make many men feel certain that he would want someone to master him. This gets him into trouble often and he assumes that is why Wulfstan is attracted to him as well, so he runs.

Excellent slow build romance that will take you on an adventure and reward you with a happy ending. Loved it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quietly Beautiful April 6, 2014
This is a quiet book, beautifully written with unforgettable characters. If you want a lot of sex, you’re not going to get it in this book. The main theme is their reluctance and fear of accepting their sexuality. The journey, both emotional and physical, is amazing and I’m so glad I read this book.
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