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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Cold Hearth by Garth Pettersen - Book Tour - Book Review - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi, lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Garth Pettersen and his new book, “The Cold Hearth”!  For other stops on his Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Garth and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

The Cold Hearth
by Garth Pettersen


GENRE: Historical Fiction, Vikings



"The sons of Cnute are dead men." The dying words of his brother's assailant travel across the North Sea to the English Midlands.

Harald, the king's second son, receives the warning while rebuilding a hall where he hopes to farm and lead a peaceful life with Selia, his Frisian wife. But as the hall nears completion, they learn the family who lived there before them all perished in a single night of bloodshed. Could the grounds be cursed?

Now the threat of unknown enemies casts a long shadow. Should they distrust the brooding Saxon neighbor or the two weapon-bearers they hired for protection? Should they suspect either of the two women they have taken on with the other hirelings? Only their Jewish warrior friend, Ravya ben Naaman, seems above suspicion.



The twin doors of the gateway sagged open, and we rode through, our horses’ hooves trampling the flourishing greenery. We halted before the hall and gave the horses a loose rein. They both lowered their heads to nibble the grass. Selia and I sat for a moment, gazing at the abandoned holding.

“Well?” I asked.

 My wyf answered without turning, as if bewyched or overwhelmed. “I like… the trees.”

She and I shared the jest with laughter. Selia’s eyes danced with mischief, and she gave me the smile I so loved. I dismounted and then assisted my Selia down. We strolled hand in hand through weeds flourishing with the springtime sun and worked our way toward the hall.

“I am glad we waited for the spring to come,” she said. “It would have looked even more forlorn in the winter.”

“It is rather sad, though well-placed, and the land is workable.” I clasped the ring handle on one of the two stout doors that fronted the hall and looked up, studying the craftsmanship. “This is good. See these curved timbers that rise from the corner edges?”

Selia ran her hand up one of the crucks I referred to.

“They help support the roof and allow for lower side walls. Saves on materials.”
“So now you’re Harald the builder, are you?” she jibed.
“I prefer it to ‘Harefoot’ don’t I—as friend Gwyn would say.”

The doors proved stubborn. Selia loaned me her strength, and together we pulled them open. From inside, a small cloud of dust descended, and we both coughed and fanned our hands, laughing between hacks. An odor of staleness wafted from the dark, cavernous interior.

“Stay out here if you like,” I told Selia. “I’ll nose about inside.”

Selia put her hand on my arm. "I told you, Harald— where you go, I go."

“Even into musty old halls?”

 Selia leaned forward and kissed my dusty lips. “Even into musty old halls. Come on.”

She took my hand and pulled me behind her as she entered. I quickly came up beside her, thinking of snarling brock badgers, but the house interior was still and uninhabited. We stood silently until our eyes adjusted to the dim light at the end of the hall.

Selia sneezed.

 “May the old gods and the new keep you safe.”

“Thank you. It is good, though.”

“What is?” I could see her well enough in the light of the open door.

“Sneezing. The hall is dusty and dry. The roof is good.”

 “You’re right. For a hall that’s not known a cooking fire for a number of winters, she’s a tribute to her builder. Let’s look over the outhouses.”

The outside air welcomed us, and we strolled around the holding. Mending and rebuilding I had expected it to need, but burrowing, pecking, or foraging animals had done the damage— no breakage had the heartlessness of marauders as its cause.

Selia and I returned to the horses and looked across the fields that called for a plowing.

 “Well, my dēorling,” I said. “Can you fantasy this into a home for us?”

Selia smiled and came close to me, lifting her face to mine. “Neither of us are strangers to work, and there is no shortage of good English men and women willing to accept the king’s silver. So yes, we can make this a home, my Harald.” And she kissed me once again. “How do you like this place?”

“The fact that the doors are intact shows the hall has not been dishonored. By Danish law, the doors are all important. One can be fined for removing even a splinter from the doorframe. And the door rings are circular, reflecting obeisance to the gods from all who pass the threshold. This house was built with reverence and adherence to law. I am pleased.

“I wish it were closer to Fiergen and our friends, but it is far enough from Wintanceaster that we need not be at the beck of the court. And it is close to others Godwin and the queen would have us watch.”

“There’s that,” she replied. “I’m glad we are of one mind about this place.”

“You know what this holding needs?” I gazed at her, expecting understanding.

“I know that look,” she said, dropping her chin but continuing to hold my gaze.

“You think it needs loving. But the house is too dirty, and the ground outside is too damp.”

“You said you liked the trees, and I have no fear we would bend one over if we leaned upon it.”

“Then, I think we have solved more than one problem this day. Lead on, my throne-worthy husband.”

And I did.



This book transported me on an exciting Viking adventure!!

This book is filled with mystery, suspense, intrigue, and is enriched with interesting historical content!!

One of the best features of this book is the significant amount of accurate, intriguing Viking era time-period detail that the author weaved into this book.  It is clear the author is well-versed in the culture, customs, and traditions that he was able to provide such cohesive knowledge and references in his writing.

I really liked that the author used real-life characters and events in the book to help set the tone and create an even stronger and more realistic ambience.  He did admit that as this book is fiction, there are some changes such as the ages of the characters and some creative writing that helped strengthen the story line.  Regardless, this book is a true essence of a Viking story!

I enjoyed the way the author provided both entertaining and educational material into the story line.  This truly helped enhance and bring the story to life!

Plus, I actually learned quite a bit while reading this book.  One thing that I found interesting was about the term “wegeld.” It is defined as the price that a killer pays the victim’s family in order to prevent a blood feud.  And this was even an actual law on the books with the price being determined by rank!  This made me think of life insurance appraisers, like when a plane crashes and the airline must pay out a certain amount of money to the victims depending on an algorithm that determines a person’s remaining life value.  It seems some laws from back then or some form of them are still employed even today!

It’s amazing how certain words, sayings, and even laws from the eleventh century have still continued on, been interrupted and re-constructed, and have inspired further development.

There are many characters (and with complicated names) thrown at you at the beginning of the book and it’s somewhat difficult to determine who to pay attention to and remember all their details.  However, it isn’t long before the book mellows out enough that you’re able to catch up and realize what you need to know.

This book had many, dark, violent, fighting, action scenes that tended to be more on the graphic side.  Although, that was mostly due to the Viking time-period era and their way of life.  I honestly did tend to glance over a few of these scenes due to the roughness.  However, I enjoyed the suspense waiting to see what was going to happen next and trying to find out who wanted to hurt Harald.

I enjoyed the mystery, suspense aspect of the story line as I was anxious to know who betrayed Harald and who was still loyal to him.  It is fascinating how power, titles, and money played such a large part in their society and is still something ever so present today – even after so many years – people are still fighting over power, titles, and money.  Is anything truly ever learned from history if we keep repeating the same mistakes?

I really liked all the additions to the book besides the story.  This book included an introduction from the author that explained the historical composition, how he developed the story, and some of his research methods and findings.

Furthermore, at the beginning of this book is a list of characters names, their title, and a brief description.  This is truly essential and a huge benefit for readers who easily forget things (like me lol!!!) or get overwhelmed with books that are character heavy.  Being able to quickly turn back to reference the characters or find out their relation to the story or their relation to other characters, etc. was a huge relief to be able to quickly find these answers and not feel so lost or confused and then be able to instantly go back to where you left off and continue reading.

I absolutely loved and truly appreciated the glossary section at the beginning of this book!  As someone not as familiar with the Viking era this section truly came in handy and was vitally used.

This book also included a map showcasing the eleventh century Anglo-Saxon land. There are many places visited in this book and it was nice seeing some of them displayed on the map as I am not very familiar with the area, so it helped seeing the real distance between locations, etc.

There are many, many words and character names that seemed strange and/or hard to pronounce.  One letter that was often used was “Æ” which was not something I was very familiar with.  Again, I appreciate the authenticity of this book, but as someone who isn’t very familiar with old English names and terms, they all seemed to blur together a bit.  I ended up making my own nicknames for the characters to help stay in the story.

There are some predictable scenes.  However, there are still a few very unexpected twists and turns that you won’t see coming!

This book is Book Three of The Atheling Book Series.  This book can absolutely be read as a standalone.  However, it seems there are many character and story line overlaps.  As you can see, this is the only book I’ve read in this series and I didn’t get confused or lost.  However, I personally would think it would make more sense and have a stronger impact on the understanding of this book series, if you started with book one first.

Also, please note there are some very detailed, graphic, violent scenes and adult rated language that may not be appropriate for all readers.

All in all, there were just a few hang-ups for me, but overall, I still enjoyed reading this book and would still recommend it!  I think all historical fiction, Vikings fans will like this book too!  So, add it to your TBR List and get to reading – you won’t be disappointed!

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book and have voluntarily provided an honest, and unbiased review in accordance with FTC regulations.**

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Garth Pettersen is a Canadian writer living in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, BC. When he's not writing, he is riding horses or working with young disabled riders. Garth's short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and in journals such as Blank Spaces, The Spadina Literary Review, and The Opening Line Literary 'Zine. His story River's Rising was awarded an Honourable Mention for the Short Story America 2017 Prize, and his fantasy novella River Born, was one of two runners-up for the Windsor Editions (UK) Short Fiction Prize. Garth Pettersen's historical fiction series, The Atheling Chronicles is published by Tirgearr Publishing and are available at most online outlets.








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Garth will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Garth ~ Good morning! Welcome to FAB! It is so great to have you here! Congrats on your new book and good luck on the book tour! I enjoyed reading and reviewing your book, thanks for providing the copy! :)

  2. New series for me, love anything that has to do with Vikings! One of my favorite shows is on the History channel, Vikings!

  3. This sounds really interesting and the cover looks great.

  4. Thanks so much for both the book description and giveaway as well. I enjoy hearing about another good book.

  5. It sounds like a fascinating book. Thanks!