Cover Image: Jilliand


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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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I thought this book would be right up my alley, Vikings, England, historical fiction. While I enjoyed some parts like the historical accuracy, there were other parts that just had me wanting to give up. At times the books was very repetitive and we were told over and over how smart Jilliand was, yet she kept getting captured. While this wasn't my favorite book, I think if you like Vikings, England, historical fiction, you'll find something to like in this book.
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I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I think I fell in love with a Viking!  This novel was a breath of fresh air--which simultaneously produced anxiety-laden anticipation.  I wholeheartedly relished this book!  Viewing the Viking people from the inside made for a very interesting and (I believe) an even...almost emphathizing experience. Thank you to both Clare Gutierrez and NetGalley!
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I received this ARC from Net Galley for an honest review.  I really wanted to like this book and I did parts of it, but there were problems.  First, I realize this was an ARC, but there was a terrible formatting problem.  Do people not check their ARC's to make sure they are okay?  The beginning of every chapter had this weird capitalization problem, where every other letter was upper, then lower case.  Then the name of the book or the author's name would randomly appear in between paragraphs throughout the book.  Okay, that rant is over.  The story:  Clare had a decent story in general, but it could have been so much better.  There were so many random characters that just showed up for a period of time with no real explanation or backstory that it was obvious she was just sticking them in the story to continue it.   it is like she had the hero and heroine and the rest of the characters were incidental depending on what the author needed in the story.  A good deal of the time, it even felt like the hero was incidental.  Spoiler:  I really liked the idea of Rurik and Jilliand but was really ticked off when he took off to Rus with just a couple of months before the birth of his child (probably happened that way historically) along with numerous families and they didn't leave anyone behind to protect the village?  Or even with that happening, Rurik just takes some guys word that everyone is dead in their village?  As a leader, should he not of checked on his village upon hearing the news, never mind the fact that he left his very pregnant wife and mother in that village.  Did he really think that any survivors would have just stood in the middle of that devastation hoping someone safe would find them?  Did it not occur to him that he may have found his wife with that newly established village that was formed after those brothers destroyed most of it and Jilliand had helped them?  Nope, he just moans about Jillian and thinks she can't be dead, but after a few YEARS of that gets married again and has a kid!  SERIOUSLY?  After his 2nd wife dies,  he thinks well gee its only been eight years or so, I think I will look for Jilliand now because another visitor saw a woman with red hair.  I can't even continue.  I was glad after all of this, he did find her in the nick of time.
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I loved this book! I thoroughly enjoyed how the story went a little longer so it felt completed at the end.
Even though I have a ton of books, in my books to read list, I would enjoy reading this again.

Jilliand had fiery red hair and green eyes and was beyond beautiful. If you ever saw her you never forget her.
Jilliand was not a boy when she was born and for not being a boy this made the lord her father very angry, haunted, and consumed with evil. He did give her one advantage as he taught her to fight and to fight so well that she could win easily. The lord was so evil that as Jilliand grew and got older he would beat and whip her with every inch of her life. There was an older couple Silas and Myla whom Jilliand’s mother asked them to care for Jilliand before her mother died. God was watching out for Jilland, therefore, Silas would pick up Jilliand after her beatings from the lord and taker her to his wife Myla and they would cleanse her wounds and put healing salves on her. Myla and Silas were very old and they knew that would not live very much longer nor would Jilliand unless she escaped that very night. Jilliand escapes with her life and the clothes on her back. 
Jilliand’s life continues with God keeping His eye on her and she never stops believing in Him.
Even when she is taken by the Viking Rurik, she does not take on his gods, she still follows and believes in her God. She becomes acquainted with Rurik’s mother and they both learned so much from each other.  She never allows anyone to manipulate her beliefs, she trusts in God throughout all the story even with the never-ending violence and deaths of loved ones. 
This book ends with serendipity with Rurik finding Jilliand still alive and they are together once again. Nothing is impossible with God.
Not for a younger reader as there is violence from the Vikings throughout the book
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This well written novel is a love story set that follows the life of a young woman, the abused daughter of a nobleman who trained her in combat.  Abused and neglected in the years since her mother died giving her birth, Jilliand realizes that she will be married for her father’s financial gain against her will to a man who will likely abuse her and kill her. Two servants who loved and served her mother help her escape. Her escape leads her to a village that is raided by Vikings, whose leader Rurik, takes Jilliand as a slave. They fall in love with each other, marry, and are torn apart.Though life takes them in different directions, theirs is an enduring love that leads them to seek each other over years and distance. The wonderful part of this book is its atypical and sympathetic portrayal of the Vikings and their cultural. Another excellent piece of Jilliand is the development of her character as she grows from a fearful, broken girl into a mature, formidable and admirable woman. This was an excellent read although it was long and had some underdeveloped minor themes. It might have been better to break it into two novels to better explore some of the many story lines that could have been developed. @jilliand @netgalley
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In the simplest terms, this is a perfect combination of historical fiction, action, and romance. It's not too cheesy, but still hits you where it hurts. This book hooked me fast, and I read most of it in one night. I'd highly recommend it.
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This book had a great plot and story line. I enjoyed reading about the Viking history. I especially appreciated how the author wrote the story so that the reader realizes they are real people, trying to live life and care for families, just the same as anyone else. Their methods were just different. And with that, the story was not graphic in its descriptions, but it was gruesome. Just something to be aware of beforehand.
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I enjoyed reading this book.  The author does an excellent job of weaving the story with both historical accuracy and literary license.  The story is easy to follow and makes sense.  The author entices the reader with building suspense.  The characters are well developed and believable given the time period.  I would highly recommend this book to readers of medieval historical fiction.
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Excellent.  This reads a bit like a family saga, moving with deliberation through the life of Jilliand.  I have to admit, this isn't my normal read, but now hooked on the History channel's "Vikings" series, I decided to try this.  I'm glad I did.  Though strictly fiction, one can tell the author did her research.
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3.75 Stars
A historical saga-like romance set at the height of the Viking Age. Think TV show Vikings meets Christian romance, dark but hopeful.
Pros: absolutely gorgeous cover art, well-researched historical facts and cultural tidbits (especially for a romance novel), multiple POVs, and the settings.
Cons: some gaps in the storyline (especially those in the background) and a couple of unbelievable scenes.
Overall, a good choice for historical romance fans. You'll either love it or hate it. I loved it, flaws and all.

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This was a great story! You are instantly drawn into the web woven by Clare Gutierrez. I found this book hard to put down. I had to keep reading to find out what happened next. The setting and historical facts were interesting. If you love historical fiction this is a must read.
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Jilliand, An abused girl, finds strength and freedom as she becomes a woman. Rurik has strength as a Viking sea king, yet finds love and gentleness when he falls in love with  Jilliand. Gutierrez takes us on an adventure through 8th century England, Scandinavia and Russia through her intoxicating characters. Reminiscent of the ‘Vikings’ series, Jilliand is a historical love story that hooked me from the start.
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Although the setting of the book is interesting and the cover compelling, the characters were flat and stereotypical enough to not create interest beyond the first few chapters.  The vagueness of the setting (who is the lord?  Does he have a name?  Where are his lands?) was generic enough to not sell the characters for me or make me want to continue reading.  Slight slips in the history augmented this (there was no Northern Ireland in the 9th century).  I'm sure there are readers who can overlook those problems and will enjoy the story, but I am unfortunately not one of them.

I won't be posting this review publicly, but wanted to make sure to keep my NetGalley feedback stats in good standing.
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This book was amazing. I loved every minute of it. The hardship & strength that Jilliand had to go through just to survive. Then what she thought was going to be the death of her turned out to be one of the greatest things even greater, to me in her opinion, of finding out who she truly was.

The characters & story line in this book was done wonderfully. The author gave you enough description that you knew what you were reading but at the same time you did not know enough that you could not imagine it. When I read books, I do not see the words, I see a running movie in my mind of what is happening in the story. The author knew what she was talking about and you could tell she did a through job of researching the era and the culture of the different cultures of the characters.

I highly recommend this book. It is am amazing love story with a wonderful, strong willed, sassy heroine. It is not a smooshy wooshy love story that story line is actually a small portion of the book. There is more action and mystery then a love story. Get the book, I promise you won't regret it.
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