Anna met and married Norwegian pilot Johan Vartdal in a whirlwind romance while he was on leave in England. Johan didn’t survive the final days of WWII and the book begins as a widowed Anna is making an extended visit to his homeland. She spends time in Oslo living with and socializing with fellow war-brides, and you will get endless descriptions of coffee parties and social gatherings that the ladies attend.
About halfway through, Anna finally travels to Molde to visit her aging father-in-law who wants to deed over a cottage nearby that is always handed down to a female member of the family. Anna’s plans were to return to England, but she’s drawn to the diary of the woman who previously owned the cottage. We finally get to see what is in this diary about half-way through, and then we get lots and lots of descriptions of life, marriage and children. Sometimes we read directly from the diary, and sometimes it is narrated back to us. There’s a love interest for Anna, plus a slight bit of tension about a male family member who has too much interest in something hidden in the cottage.
*spoiler warning* When that’s resolved, we get more endless exposition about Anna’s happy married life and children. *end spoiler*
Seriously, that’s it. I love hearing about new places and the customs and culture of the locals, but unfortunately that’s pretty much all you are going to get in this. You’ll learn about the food, you’ll attend plenty of tea/coffee parties and maybe a wedding or two, but there just isn’t any story to keep the reader interested. Library only, then buy it if you love it. If you are interested in learning more about Norway, I do highly recommend Laker’s This Shining Land set during the German occupation.
Kindle copy obtained via library loan.