Jilliand

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

To me, this book started off promising, but then it went down from there. We started with Jilliand being imprisoned by her father, then she worked with Rurik on a Viking ship, then she lived with Rurik, and then even more. The story continued to crawl along, but as soon as I fell into one part of the story, it quickly switched to the other. 

The story was definitely very interesting, even though nothing good seemed to happen to Jilliand for quite a while. After a few chapters, I wanted SOMETHING good to be able to happen to Jilliand. But every single time something good happened to Jilliand, something bad happened to take away what small happiness she had. I know that this is supposed to be the medieval times with the Vikings or "pagans" vs. the Christians, but I highly doubt that there would be any one person that simply had the worst luck and couldn't have a single bit of happiness. She is just abused so much in this book, and I felt so bad for her by the end. 

The storyline with Rurik was romantic, but it was definitely tumultuous. This is not a strictly romance story, the romance is really just a side plot to the main story. 

The plot of this book did not move smoothly, as Jilliand got older and there seemed to be some major timeskips throughout the story. There was so much just jam-packed into this one book that I didn't get the chance to be connected to any of the side characters. I barely got to know Rurik, with him always being away and running the Viking army.

My favorite character in this book ended up being Rurik's mother. She is so sweet to Jilliand, and wanted to help her in every way possible. She became the mother that Jilliand never had, and helped her to heal after the years of abuse she had endured at the hands of her father and the other people whom she encountered. She was the only one that I felt that I got to "know" after reading the book. 

I would not necessarily recommend this book. It is definitely a unique fantasy novel, but it is such a dry read that it wasn't a very enjoyable experience. I also wish that I had gotten to know the side characters more, but the writing style made it difficult. 
I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
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A sweeping historical saga that follows one brave woman’s journey. 

I found this story filled with heart stopping moments and a testament to the hope and endurance within the human spirit.

Jilliand’s life and journey is filled with sorrow, struggles, change and finally love. As a woman raised as a son until it could no longer be ignored that she was a woman. Her only worth in the eyes of the man that raised her is what wealth her marriage would bring him - then her use would be done. 

In the shadow of this prospect Jilliand- runs and her path or fate leads her on an amazing adventure well beyond her shores and back again.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a historical saga and journey of the human spirit. 

My inner history geek truly enjoyed being able to pull up maps of 800’s England, history of Wessex England and the Viking know as Rurik. Well done!
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Jilliand is a force that no one sees coming and this book begins with her bearing the brunt of her father's hatred, so much so that the scars she bears are nothing compared to the years of abuse following her mother's demise. The story takes place over a span of many years, seas, lands, and war. She's a fighter but when she finds herself in the hands of a Viking King, then...she learns that safety is also a feeling, but even then, there's more to safety and partnership. I loved this story because of how two different people with different beliefs came to understand and care for each other.
There were some parts where the scenes felt a bit rushed, but all in all it was an enjoyable read. PS: I know nothing about Vikings, so on the depiction of their way of life in this book is foreign territory to me. Thanks Netgalley for the eARC.
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This is a historical fiction novel where romance takes a second seat. I'm not a history buff, but the book gives some good depictions of the era of Viking raids on the British Isles.
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I received an early ARC of this book from Net Galley. I would like to thankthem, the publisher River Grove Book and the author Clare Gutierrez.
I'll begin by stating that this is not my usual type of book to read. I did enjoy it but at times the hardships for the main character, Jilliand,  were a little hard to take. Even though, I did enjoy this book. Reading about the Viking culture was interesting.
My recommendation is to give this one a read. It is different and interesting!
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Jilliand by Clare Gutierrez is a 2018 River Grove Books publication. 

I love historical romances set in Medieval days, or those featuring Vikings, or Pirates. Sadly, they don’t write many of those types of books anymore. So, naturally, this novel piqued my interest and that gorgeous cover lured me right in, giving me high hopes for a rip roaring, high seas, sweeping saga. 

To be clear, one should not approach this book with the same mind set you would with the typical historical romance. This book is not written in that style or format. This story is more of a historical saga with an epic love story at its core. Don't expect high angst or the usual battle of the sexes or the standard conflict that usually accompanies historical romances. This one actually might do better under the historical fiction category, just to keep those types of preconcieved notions at bay. 

This book moves slowly but still has enough intrigue and adventure to keep readers engaged in the story. As a person who is a fan of this genre, I was already prepared for the many trials and travails that our heroine would endure in her life. For some, the amount of adversity Jilliand faces may seem harsh, but it’s common in this type of literature.

I don’t necessarily enjoy watching characters suffer unduly, but I don’t mind the drama, and the way these strong women, who have everything in the world going against them, who can’t seem to catch a break, rise to the occasion, proving their mettle, always managing to perservere in whatever situation they find themselves in. Of course, I always hold out hope, even it is against all odds, that maybe after all is said and done they will finally have their hard earned, long overdue happily ever after. 

JIlliand is such a character. Her upbringing is unusual for an English lady and her young life is marred by abuse. Her goal, which is to find her way to freedom, is thwarted time and time again. Just as she finds peace, love, happiness, and contentment, she will once again face yet another round of adversity.

I used to love novels that put the heroine through the ringer by separating her from her lover, time and again, where her life is fraught with danger, before they finally fight their way back to one another for good. Somehow, it made the ending all the sweeter because of the depths they went to to be together. However, the modern reader, who may be accustomed to that steady, overstuffed, over saturated diet of Regency period historicals may not know how to digest or cope with Jilland’s struggles. 

While, it is evident the author has done her homework, and I do see how much effort she has put into this novel, the writing is uneven, the pacing a little too slow, and the dialogue is slightly wooden. I think the love story may be too understated, as the chemistry between Jilliand and her beloved Viking- Rurik, is a very slow burner and despite assurances they love one another, the passion is very muted. This is one of those times where there is a clear distinction between a romance novel and a love story. As with many historical fiction novels, such as this, there are some implausible moments that might not have seemed feasible. Those moments do glaring stick out, unfortunately. 

That being said, one point I did want to stress, though, is that despite Jilliand’s being somewhat of an anomaly among women, with an education and warrior skills no proper English lady would ordinarily possess, I thought the author made the situation clear from the start, and if this falls into the ‘inaccurate’ slot, so what? I’ve finally come to realize the distinction between authentic and realistic. The authenticity was there, but a few situations and conversations were unrealistic- if that makes any sense.

I’ve been trying to relax and enjoy the story more instead of making monumental issues over a few perceived inaccuracies, just so long as my intelligence isn’t insulted to the extreme. In this instance, we want a strong female character, one our modern sensibilities can embrace, which may mean taking a few liberties. Otherwise, the story would be much harsher, and Jilliand would be impossible for us to relate to at all. 

To that end, for the most part, I really enjoyed this novel. The author’s heart is in the right place and the effort is evident. Her research unearthed some interesting information about the Vikings that may seem to contradict the usual portrayal of them in movies and television. The story is indeed a sweeping saga, with many twists and turns, and was certainly a welcome change of pace for me.
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This story was so cool, I haven't read a viking related novel in a long time or ever...the writing feels almost like a classic epic and the characters have this cool aura around them. Definitely something I would recommend if you're in the mood to go on an adventure!
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An interesting viking era book. The characters are interesting and plot is interesting. I enjoyed reading it for the most part but I did find some aspects of it boring.
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I haven’t read a lot of books that have taken place in the Viking Era. So, I was pretty excited to read Jilliand. I have a genuine interest in the Viking culture and was looking forward to reading about it. While the book did cover that, I felt it was lacking in some areas. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading the book. I loved that the author took her time to research the Viking culture. I also liked that she made Jilliand a strong female character. I also liked how Jilliand seemed to overcome the odds. But there were things I didn’t like about the book. I felt that Jilliand was a little too progressive for the time. Not a lot of women traveled alone during that time. Also, not a lot of women knew how to fight. I also felt that she was too easily accepted at the Viking village. Everything else I have read points to the exact opposite for slaves. I also didn’t believe that Jilliand’s brother didn’t know how she was living when she was a child? Please.

Jilliand’s storyline was interesting. Jilliand was an abused, young girl who was going to be married off to her father’s closest ally. But, on the eve of her arranged marriage, Jilliand is set free. Given clothing and a short dagger, she makes her way to a nearby village. It is there that she settles down with a family. Her freedom is short-lived. She is soon captured by the Vikings in a raid. Ruik, the sea-king of his village, falls in love with her. But language stands in the way, as does Jilliand’s attempts to escape. Eventually, she ends up at his village and they are married. But a huge tragedy happens and Jilliand is separated from Ruik, for years. Taken in by her brother, Jilliand is treated as a treasured, if eccentric sister. What happens next, though, will bring Jilliand back to Ruik. But will it be too late for them?

I liked Jilliand and I admired her for overcoming awful beginnings. But I couldn’t quite connect with her. She was progressive for that era. Females were only there to have children. They contributed little to society other than that. So for Jilliand to be taught how to fight struck me as a little odd. There was an explanation about why she was taught but still.  Saying that she was a very strong and positive female character. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how she was portrayed.

I thought her relationship with Ruik a bit Stockholm Syndromeish. I know that captives can fall in love with their captors after being with them for a while. So, that part is believable. But to have the village accept her? I don’t think that would have happened. She came in as a slave and she would have been at the bottom of the totem pole. Instead, she was treated very well and accepted as Ruik’s wife almost from the beginning. I also felt that their relationship was flat. There was no sizzle to it. I didn’t get the warm fuzzies when they were together. It was blah.

The subplot with Jilliand’s brother didn’t sit well with me either. I could believe that a king wouldn’t go wage war on the man who kidnapped his mother and forced her to marry him. I also couldn’t believe that he left Jilliand with that man, knowing how he was. It didn’t sit right with me.

I will say that I liked the end of the book. Jilliand was magnificent. I loved the surprise at the end. I was expecting it and but it didn’t make the ending anymore happier for me.

What I liked about Jilliand:

A) Jilliand being a strong female character

B) The research that went into the book. It was unbelievable and I learned so much about the Viking culture

C) The ending.

What I disliked about Jilliand:

A) She was too progressive for the era

B) Her relationship with Ruik

C) The subplot with her brother

I would give Jilliand an Older Teen rating. There is sex but it is not explicit. There is violence. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in Jilliand. They are child abuse, attempted rape, kidnapping, and slavery. If you are triggered by any of these, I recommend not reading Jilliand.

I am on the fence about rereading Jilliand. I am also on the fence about recommending this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Greenlove Book Group, River Grove, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Jilliand.

All opinions stated in this review of Jilliand are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**
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Honestly, there are not a lot of books about Vikings around! But this one is so well written, evoking the way of life and code of honor practiced by the Vikings. Enough romance to keep it interesting, too.
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In Jilliand, Clare Gutierrez creates the perfect blend of war, romance, politics, and 9th century Viking and English culture. I really enjoyed reading Jilliand because it's so captivating from the setting to the characters. Jilliand's journey is filled with many hardships starting with an escape from her abusive father into a world so completely unknown to her.

This story is so easy to sink into as Jilliand learns to survive and grow into a brave woman. When her path crosses with Viking sea king Rurik, Jilliand faces an even greater challenge. She has to find a place among the fierce warriors who live harsh lives and worship different gods. Rurik and Jilliand are two completely different types of characters but they complement each other. I loved reading the story through each of their eyes and it made the story interesting and unpredictable. I never knew what would happen next in the story, but each new situation was a cause to read faster to see how Jilliand made out. The plot is full of ups and downs, which will appeal to the emotional side of readers. I like that nothing came easily for Jilliand, but she fought for the future anyway. She's one of those rare heroines that inspire hope and independence without a lot of second guessing or complaining.

Jilliand is definitely a story for historical fiction readers, especially if you love the romantic aspect of the story, of course, for which I read greedily! It will be hard to leave this story when you've finished reading, and it will stick with you long after!
*ARC provided in consideration for review*
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I received this arc for an honest review from netgalley.

I am torn on this book. The author writes beautifully and I love coming anything....However I was not happy with the story and was left heartbroken and wanting so much more...This was the first book i almost put in the dnf category but I came back and finished it. I give much respect to the author for putting her work in the world and will read books by her again however this story was not for me.
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While acknowledging the author did research for her novel and the writing itself, I think, is good, this was a mediocre story. And I am saying that from my own point of view. So I am not saying it to discourage anyone from reading this. It has some romance, it has fighting, it has tall beautiful Vikings and the red headed beauty that everyone fights over. One nice thing is that the story doesn’t include all that hot and heavy sex that is such a common part of romance novels. So that was good. This is just not a genre I get excited about. But give it a go if this is a genre well liked! It certainly didn’t bore me or make my eyes roll out of frustration.
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If you have ever seen the show, Vikings, and you are a fan, you will love this book!  Even some of the names will be familiar to you, as well as some of the Viking rites.  This is a fun book with plenty of action.  

The author tries to weave real Viking practices in the book while telling the story of a young Englishwoman.  

The first part of the book follows a young Jilliand, who is emotionally strong enough to face a world alone when most women would have died during that time.  She is a fierce fighter and a strong counterpart to the men in the story.  

Part two has her more grown up, but in my opinion, not as much of a warrior as she first turned out to be.  It seemed that somewhere she lost her abilities and just kind of turned into a “lady.”  It would have been fun to see her be both.

By part three, it seems she lost all her warrior-like abilities.  Granted she is older, but still, her fierceness seems to be gone when she needs it the most.  Part three also goes quickly through time, and I’m not sure if it really needed to jump that wildly.  My guess is that the author was trying to keep the timeline more in tune with the real Viking king she writes about.

However, even with those criticisms aside, this was a truly fun book to read!  It is easy to place yourself in Jilliand’s shoes while reading the story and to go on the adventures with her.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an advanced copy to read.  All opinions are my own.
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Princess to Commoner to Viking Queen. These are all the titles and fates that our young heroine, Jilliand finds herself in in the book, Jilliand. She was born into a home of hate and depravity with a father who  treated her more or less like a castaway. Her past was a lie and as the story slowly unfolds, we learn about her tragic upbringing to her loneliness out in the world and finally to finding true and everlasting love. Jilliand is a very touching and sad story with a heroine who triumphs through all her hardships with the help of a love that is all encompassing.

Told through the eyes of Jilliand, our young heroine starts off in trouble right away. Without any hope of having a better future, an elderly couple who had watched over her since her mother was brought to the ruling Lord were the only true family she had. Along with a Captain of the royal army who Jilliand only knew as an "uncle", Jilliand suffered through the harsh tortures of her father. Raised as a boy no less, the chance for Jilliand to escape comes up when she is betrothed to an old man and plotted to be put to death after the wedding. With nothing but a few of her mother's jewelry and a couple of weapons, Jilliand sets off to find a new life.

This is where it got pretty interesting. Jilliand inadvertently gets captured by the Viking King, Rurik, who doesn't quite treat her as a slave or a captive. What he does however, is try to learn who she is and why, dressed as a commoner, carries a certain regal air around her. He is immediately intrigued by both her beauty and bravery and decides to keep her with him for the time being. While Jilliand is allowed to journey with Rurik, his ship, and his crew, a tenuous friendship develops between the two. They don't quite trust each other but is greatly aware of each other's honor and strength.

The journey throughout the entire story spans several years and not all of those years are pleasant either - for both Jilliand and Rurik. As they slowly but steadfastly fall in love, many obstacles get in their way. When Jilliand is taken back to Rurik's homeland and people, she encounters a dreadful enemy as well as make a few friends whom she could trust. Through the obstacles and learning to adjust to her new life as a Viking, Jilliand and Rurik wed and grow closer together. There is a very unique bond between them that we will find out just how strong it is later on in the story.

I don't want to spoil too much of the story, but Jiliand is a very well written book with a deeper meaning into it;.; Love, honor, and strength guides Jilliand through the years and her faith in her religion and her husband is what helps her survive. But luck is also on her side as she is tested time and time again.

I'm not sure why there are some 2 stars reviews. I thought the book was very easy to read and moved along quite well. Many years spanned throughout the story so perhaps some might felt it was too lengthy? I thought the author did a wonderful job with the pacing of the story and you can clearly tell in depth research was done. I learned a lot about the Vikings and their ways and really enjoyed Jiliand's own insights and thoughts on how the Vikings worked. Even she felt there were prejudices about the Vikings were mostly unjust. As Jilliand described, the Vikings are no more or less like the English in their mannerisms and ways. In fact, the Vikings chose family and community to be the prime choices in their livelihood.

It's important to read the author's notes at the end of the story as she tells us about her research and her own discoveries. Read Jilliand if you are looking for an epic and sweeping romance story that is also filled with war, adversity, danger, tenacity, and bravery. Open your mind to a story that isn't sugary or sweet but still has a deep and abiding love between the hero and heroine.
Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC!
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I don't like reviewing books that I don't finish. I always wonder if something changes, and I would have liked it by the end. The problem for me with Jilliand was the omniscient point of view. I didn't like reading every single character's thoughts, and I thought the switch between one character's thoughts and the next were too abrupt. Also, from time to time there were snippets that read more like a history book than a novel.
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This was only ok for me.  The story itself was an interesting  one but the writing style and pacing just didn't work for me.  I also found some of the actions the characters took to be illogical and too, there were characters introduced as antagonists that ultimately had no real tie to the story except to give Jilliand something to overcome within 3 pages.  

I did finish this as I wanted to see how it ultimately ended but this one just wasn't what I was hoping for when I picked it up.
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Jillian is a young woman whose mother died in childbirth and whose father hates her. He wanted a boy so trains her to fight, yet keeps her in a cell where she's tortured daily. She escapes with the help of the few people she can trust only to be captured by the Viking sea king, Rurik  He soon learns Jilliand is much more than she seems.  I enjoyed reading this book  The characters, especially Jilliand and Rurick, were so engaging that I would have liked more detail . The story moved quickly but was somewhat superficial. This is a great book for young adults who enjoy historical fiction, but who shy away from more lengthy tales.
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This was my first Viking story and I really enjoyed it. The author wove historical fiction, romance, and religion. I especially enjoyed reading about the Viking villages.  I did get a little confused with some of the time shifts but all in all it was a great read. Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book.
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*Thank you NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

What an adventure! I wasn’t expecting much when I picked up Jilliand: A Story of Love and Freedom by Clare Gutierrez. I have not heard of this author before, but the cover drew me in. I was so excited that this book was a historical romance about Vikings! I love reading about the Vikings! This story is about Jilliand, a young woman, raised as a boy. When the time came that she couldn’t disguise her figure, her father beat her relentlessly. On the eve of her marriage, she flees with the help of a few friends. As she goes through the English countryside on her own, she comes across a poor village. However, little does she know that the village would be subject to a Viking attack. Rurik, the leader of his settlement, raids the village and comes across the fiery redhead. He notices that she is not like any woman he has known before. They find themselves drawn to each other. The only problem is she is a Christian and he is a Pagan. Will she be accepted by his people?

I could not put this book down! The author really does a fantastic job of diving into the history and culture of the time period. I even loved the romance between Jilliand and Rurick. I was so emersed in the first 60% of the book. There comes a point when everything falls apart and I felt that it took too long to be resolved. (Sorry, I don’t want to spoil it.) I just wanted to know what happens and the last 40% dragged on a bit. The ending was also not satisfying. I was completely invested in the story and the ending resolution was too quick. The resolve is the just the last paragraph. I needed more of a conclusion than just a paragraph.

I must say this author is great at character development and building character relationships. I found myself rooting for Jilliand and Rurik. Their passion increases throughout the novel. Not only does the author build up the character but she also rips out the reader’s heart. There is a point where I almost put the book down because it is so heartbreaking. So I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars. I found this book unbelievably entertaining, I just wish the pacing was a little more even and the ending a bit more extended to give the reader closure. I will be looking to read this author’s other works as well!
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