Rosalind Laker says in her biography that she is married to a Norwegian and lives in an old farmhouse there. Her latest novel is a love letter to her adopted country.
When Anna, a young war widow, decides to journey to her husband’s homeland, she keeps insisting that it’s only going to be for a short visit. Slowly but surely, she becomes enchanted by the beauty of the Norwegian landscape and heals from the shock of widowhood. Still, she prevaricates, even when her father-in-law’s lawyer, Alex Ringstad, tells her that she’s inherited a house. When Anna meets her father-in-law at Christmas, he gives her the journal of the original owner of the house, Ingrid. As Anna reads the journal, she realizes she can’t leave Norway without seeing the house so vividly described by the vivaceous Ingrid. The fact that she and Alex have been seeing each other also makes her stay until the spring. Once she sees the house, something finally breaks in her, and she realizes that Norway has become her home and that she’s learned to love Alex, and she decides to stay in Ingrid’s home.
Ms. Laker describes the landscape so vividly that you could be there, and she writes about the local customs and attitudes with endearment and respect. You can see how the environment can be healing for someone who has had a sorrow as great as Anna’s.
This is not really a story with a lot of conflict; it’s more about depicting daily life in Norway, with all the normal bumps in the road, so don’t be surprised if you can see where this story is going from the beginning. That said, The House by the Fjord is a thoroughly enjoyable read, particularly under the covers on a cold night.