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Friday, December 28, 2018

FASCINATING NORWAY by Cynthia Breeding

This fall, I took a land tour of Scandinavia…Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Most of the time, travelers choose cruise ships for these destinations since all the major cities can be accessed by ship as well as the spectacular fjords, but I always like to learn more about the people and the land than what a short day excursion while in port can provide.

Denmark is, as they say, “flat as a pancake” and everyone (everyone!) owns a bicycle. Part of the reason is that there is a 150% surcharge on personal cars, although the Danes can get a “business” plate. Cycling also keeps them incredibly fit and healthy in spite of a penchant for ice cream and waffles. Historically, the Danes were powerful, having control of both Norway and Sweden for centuries. (Remember Hamlet?) Odense is the home of Hans Christian Anderson and a museum there has beautiful editions of The Little Mermaid.

Sweden is very pastoral, with forests and a huge lake (Lake Vattern) that nearly bisects the country. Stockholm is actually a city of many islands criss-crossed with numerous bridges. Old Town (Camia stan) was settled nearly a thousand years ago and contains Marten Trotzigs Grand, a street with 36 steps and only 35” wide. Contrast that to one of our eight-lane freeways!

Norway, though, was my favorite. The fjords are absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and as deep as the mountains surrounding them are high. The snowcap on the mountains starts at about 3,000 feet so you can imagine the depth. It’s no wonder cruise ships can sail all way in. A Flam Railway trip to Voss passes by numerous waterfalls, at which any the Nordic Huldra, a wood nymph that lures sailors into the forest, may lurk. She sang her song as we passed. Also worth the trip was the Trolstigen Road (The Trolls’ Road) which climbs a mountain at a 10% incline and includes eleven hairpin bends…a bit hair-raising if you are sitting on the side of the bus that looks over the edge of that road.

But you simply cannot visit Scandinavia without thinking about Vikings. The Viking museum in Oslo has two well-preserved long-boats from the Viking area that are definitely a must-see, as well as plenty of other artifacts from the Viking Age (9th-11th centuries).

And it was with Vikings in mind, that I wrote The Viking’s Yuletide Woman, available through Prairie Rose Publishing.
Travelling tips: Because of the North Atlantic Drift (part of the Gulf Stream) the waters around southern Scandinavia are relatively warm which means a temperate climate. Pack some shorts and t-shirts! Also, most hotels and restaurants do not have air-conditioning either.


866 A.D.~

Ruthless Viking Prince Ivar is determined to avenge his murdered father—even if it means marrying a Saxon princess who will do whatever she can to escape him. Ivar and his men take over the Saxon stronghold of York, England, in the hope of forcing King Aelle to surrender. He holds Princess Aethelthryth, King Aelle’s daughter, as a prized hostage---or so he believes.

But the “princess” captive, Ella, is a lowly maid who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. She bears a striking
resemblance to Princess Aethelthryth who has been spirited away to safety. Ivar’s captain, Bronwolf, mistakes her for her mistress. Though he is attracted to Ella, Bronwolf turns her over to Ivar, as is his duty…but the fires of desire have already been kindled between the captain and the maid.

Ella continues her pretense of being the true princess in order to protect herself from the brutish Viking prince and his men, but her plan is turned on her when Ivar decides to make her his bride to seal the alliance between their people.

When Bronwolf learns her true identity, there is only one thing he can do to save her from Ivar’s fury at being duped—he must find a way to get her to safety. Can he protect Ella from the barbaric Prince Ivar, or will it cost both of them their lives? Will Ella consent to his plan and become THE VIKING’S YULETIDE WOMAN?


  1. Cynthia,
    Your book sounds wonderful. I just picked up a copy. And I loved reading about your travels in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. I had the pleasure of visiting Helsinki briefly this summer to pick up my daughter who was studying abroad, and I really enjoyed it. I'd love to return and see more. Cheers!

  2. Cynthia, I doubt I will ever get that far from Oklahoma, but I love to "travel vicariously" through blog posts such as this, and through stories like yours. I really loved THE VIKING'S YULETIDE WOMAN!

  3. I loved that you chose the land route to travel through Scandinavia because you really got a chance to see more and to interact with the people. I don't think I would want to live in any of those places because I am accustomed to a warmer climate, but I have met some people from there and liked them so much. My ancestors were Vikings and I really should learn more about them.
    I have your book The Viking's Yuletide Woman and as soon as I get some time I want to dig into that book. I bought a bunch of PRP and its Imprints books and I am looking forward to the time when I can just take it easy and read for a while.
    All the best to you, Cynthia and Happy New Year.