In this debut novel, a young woman and Viking-enthusiast named Zelda contends with the aftereffects of fetal alcohol syndrome, with which she was born. When she realizes that her brother Gert has resorted to illegal activities to help make ends meet, Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength.
In When We Were Vikings, MacDonald's captivating, beautifully written and witty novel, he introduces to the literary world an unforgettable protagonist ... With a fast-paced and engaging plot, MacDonald makes it easy for his readers to care deeply—and immediately—about Zelda. As the humorous and bittersweet storyline of When We Were Vikings progresses, readers will feel compassion for Zelda, while enthusiastically cheering her on to victory against the perceived dangers in her life ... The coming-of-age themes in When We Were Vikings are universally relatable ... With his stunning, heartfelt debut, Andrew David MacDonald...[is] on a trajectory for a most legendary writing career.
MacDonald covers very difficult terrain: poverty, lack of health care, violence, child abuse, abandonment, and alcoholism ... In this well-written and compelling novel, MacDonald conveys Zelda's particular challenges and succeeds in bringing her to life.