Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Call of the Sea by Sian Ann Bessey

Rating: ★★★
Audience: Historical Fiction
Length: 252 pages
Author: Sian Ann Bessey
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: November 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


A Viking Historical Romance

On the eve of her betrothal to a nobleman she’s never met, Rhiannon seeks comfort on the shores of the sea she loves so well. But instead of offering peace to her uneasy heart, the ocean heralds doom with the arrival of dreaded Viking ships. A vicious raid leads to the death of her beloved father and leaves Rhiannon’s life in tatters. Heartbroken, she travels to Ynys Môn, where she takes up residence at the royal court of Owain Gwynedd.

Leif loves voyaging on the open water. As the son of a Viking chief, he’s accustomed to his people’s practice of plundering and looting. But when one of his companions ruthlessly kills an old man in front of the man’s beautiful daughter, Leif is haunted by the memory. Desperate to find forgiveness for the atrocity he allowed to occur, he’s offered a chance at redemption through the kindly teachings of an Irish priest and the unexpected arrival of a royal fugitive. Suddenly thrust into the midst of the Cymry’s political turmoil, Leif is reunited with the dead man’s daughter―Rhiannon. Forced to work side by side to uncover the truth behind the turmoil, they come to discover that love can grow from even the most tragic of beginnings. But with such incompatible backgrounds, surely a future together can never be theirs.

Thank you to the publisher and author for an ARC.


This was a well written story with beautiful imagery and a deep dive into history.

And I will say it’s definitely more historical fiction than anything else. There is a romantic sub plot, but it’s a super sub plot. I enjoyed the murder mystery aspects and finding the truth. Learning about different aspects of the nations at the time and finding God when down on your knees.

The “whodunnit” will keep you guessing and the save the damsel in distress scenes are some of my favorite. I liked the forbidden aspects of the romance and the discussions they worked through involving grief and forgiveness. The lane is never straight but the hills and valleys remind you of what you’re ultimately striving for.

I do wish there was more romance. It had it on the cover so my expectations were set in that direction and I was a bit mystified they didn’t interact as much as I hoped for. I did like the friendships Rhiannon had with her cousin and I just liked Rhiannon in general. She was a great FMC. Full of strength and a desire for more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Fiction
  • Language: none
  • Romance: Kisses
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, loss of a parent, small battle scenes

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