(Vikings of the New World Saga #1)
- God's Daughter
One Viking woman. One God. One legendary journey to North America.
In the tenth century, when pagan holy women rule the Viking lands, Gudrid turns her back on her training as a seeress to embrace Christianity. Clinging to her faith, she joins her husband, Finn, on a journey to North America.
But even as Gudrid faces down murderous crewmen, raging sickness, and hostile natives, she realizes her greatest enemy is herself--and the secrets she hides might just tear her marriage apart.
Almost five centuries before Columbus, Viking women sailed to North America with their husbands. God's Daughter, Book One in the Vikings of the New World Saga, offers an expansive yet intimate look into the world of Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir--daughter-in-law of Eirik the Red, and the first documented European woman to have a child in North America.
This novel is based heavily on the Icelandic Sagas and is written from a Christian worldview.
Amazon Bestseller in Norse & Icelandic Historical Fiction category for Kindle for more than 12 consecutive months.
Praise for God's Daughter
"The life of Vikings in North America is energetically described, and the entire cast of characters feel fresh and vivid, including Leif Ericson and Gudrid's father-in-law Eric the Red... a remarkably assured tale, well-recommended." ~ Historical Novel Society Reviews, May 2014
"Gudrid is a protagonist that any woman can identify with and relate to...God's Daughter is not a frivolous or blithe novel, but a richly detailed one, a tale meant to be savored and revisited time and time again." ~ 5-Star Review from Kristi Lindsey for Readers' Favorite, Dec 2013
"Vivid, powerful...triumphant. This story took me by the heart." ~ Joanne Bischof, award-winning author of the Cadence of Grace series
"God's Daughter offers a brave, fresh look at a lost way of life and the Vikings who left an indelible mark in history. Author Heather Gilbert weaves a riveting novel with unforgettable characters and circumstances, the first installment in a series sure to resonate with historical fans. The stunning cover is only the beginning!" ~ Laura Frantz, Christy finalist and author of Love's Reckoning
"God's Daughter by Heather Day Gilbert is a stirring tenth century saga of early Christianity, and one Viking woman's heroic struggle to sustain her faith and her marriage amidst a dangerous voyage to North America. Heather Day Gilbert's voice is strong and certain, her story world breathtakingly vivid, the character of Gudrid one I will never forget." ~ Lori Benton, author of Burning Sky
Iola on Goodreads wrote:
Heather Day Gilbert just became one of my favorite authors. God's Daughter is everything I'm looking for in a novel: fascinating history, vivid setting, complex characters who evolve and grow as the pages turn, skillful storytelling, realistic dialogue, and relevance for today. In fact, I was surprised at how this Viking tale brimmed with lessons for today's readers. I absolutely loved the heroine and found her faith in Jesus so inspiring as she lived in a pagan culture which worshiped Thor. I devoured this book in less than 48 hours and eagerly await the next in the series. Bonus: there is an author's note on the history and a list of her resources at the end of the novel.
It is 1000 AD, and Gudrid is one of the few women on a Viking expedition to upper North America, to rediscover Vineland and bring great wealth back to Leif Eiriksson, their chieftain. She is the wife of Thorfinn Karlsefni, the expedition leader, mother to Snorri, the unofficial leader of the small band of women on the expedition—and the unwilling object of the affections of several of the men. Gudrid stopped worshipping Thor when she was a child and the capricious god demanded her mother as a sacrifice to guarantee a good harvest. As an adult in Iceland, she learned of the one true God from the monks, and she now follows Him.
God’s Daughter is a character-driven family saga, told entirely in first person from Gudrid’s point of view, and in the present tense—an interesting choice for a story set 1,000 years in the past, but one that’s strangely effective. Her voice is understated, deliberately downplaying the everyday struggles for survival in Viking society, a culture that still worships Thor and where life includes many pagan rituals.
It is obvious that a huge amount of research has gone into God’s Daughter, and while that research comes out in the depth of the narrative around the people, culture and lifestyle, it’s never overbearing and it never gets in the way of the story (although the names were a little difficult at times, because they were so unfamiliar).
The distance of time makes it impossible for us to really know what life was like in the Viking camp of Straumsfjord or the village of Brattahlid in Greenland, but the majesty and the savagery both come alive in the excellent writing. I came away feeling I had a real understanding of Viking life (certainly more than enough to be thankful I live now!).
God's Daughter is recommended for readers who enjoy well-researched historical fiction set in less well-known times and places, from author such as Iris Anthony (aka Siri Mitchell) or Sharon Penman.