Undercurrent by Michelle Griep
Published 2011 by Risen Books, 302 pages
Genre: Christian romance with speculative elements, for ages 16 and up
What if people who go missing actually end up in another time?
Michelle Griep asked herself this question and spun this story to answer it. In it, present-day Englishwoman Dr. Cassie Larson takes some students on a short cruise in the North Sea. She buys a luminous wooden brooch shaped like a wolf from a mysterious man. The brooch falls overboard. She leans after it… and she falls too.
A Viking is rowing across the North Sea, circa 900 AD. He finds her, cold but alive, in the water. Her hair is short–this marks her as a slave, he thinks. He cares for her. She’ll make a good slave for his betrothed.
Cassie’s totally out of her element. They are heading from Viking homelands toward Britain, and arrive at Jorvik, which eventually will be known as York. To her modern eyes it’s all very dirty and smelly. Her modern shoes cause her feet to bleed on the needed long hikes. She complains and doesn’t do what she’s told, causing no end of trouble.
Her rescuer, Alarik, is accused of murder, fleeing to his mother’s kin. Soon his cousin Ragnar from his home of Rogaland in Norway finds Alarik and asks him to return. An evil tyrant has taken control of Rogaland. Only Alarik, the rightful heir, can put the situation to rights for the people of Rogaland. But he’ll have to face the murder charge.
Alarik’s cousin Ragnar is the one who eventually begins to make Cassie’s heart sing. Will she hope to return to modern England, or will she opt for love? And what of the murder–who did it? The evil tyrant seems to have some supernatural powers. Defeating him looks impossible.
But Ragnar is a follower of Jesu, and with Jesu nothing is impossible.
I really liked this book. It’s a great mix of historical, romance, and supernatural/time travel, so it’s no ordinary romance. It’s got great pacing and a surprising plot, along with good characterization.