Beorn the Proud
Beorn the Proud, Madeleine Polland
(1961; reprinted, Bethlehem Books, 1999), pb., 185 pp.
This is a story of Viking raids, Ireland and Denmark in the 9th century with an adventure centering around a boy and girl. We really like good historical fiction and have enjoyed many books from this publisher so we were excited to get back to this book which we ran out of time for the last time we went through this time period. However, this book was a disappointment.
On the positive side, the book has an explicit Christian message. The girl in the story, Ness, is an Irish Christian and she advocates the faith to her Viking captors, including Beorn, the son of the chief. The contrast of a God of love versus a god of war and slaughter is discussed, as well as the value of humility rather than arrogance. This is good. However, the Christianity discussed is fairly vague.
Negatively, the story is just not told well. At a couple of places the telling is so vague as to cause confusion for several pages before ideas were explained. There was some adventure and intrigue but it was not compellingly delivered.
So, this book is tolerable but there are plenty of others which provide a more realistic portrait of the era in a more engaging manner.