#bookreview – Land of Hidden Fires – by Kirk Kjeldsen

A Norwegian take on World War II. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.
hiddenfiresFirst, full disclosure:
1. I received a copy of this novel from the author with a request to read and review it.
2. I am obsessed with stories related to the two World Wars.

The novella takes place in Norway during the Nazi occupation of World War II. But the war almost becomes unimportant because this is a novel of building suspense, that follows the intersection of five lives:
1. An American pilot who crash lands in the forest.
2. A motherless teenage girl experiencing her first tender feelings of love.
3. A spineless Nazi collaborator dreaming of a more prosperous life.
4. A German officer, desperate to leave the relative safety of his posting in Norway for the possibility of earning glory on the battlefield.
5. A remote but desperate father trying to locate and protect his lost daughter.

And one more major character — the cold Norwegian winter. Snow, cold, and ice impact everything. My biggest criticism of the book is the elaborate descriptions that start each chapter, which to me, sometimes detracted from the building suspense of the story. Nevertheless, the suspense does build as the book progresses. And the ending seems realistic.

The book is less a war story than it is about the ways people behave in difficult times and how their personal desires wind up impacting others who cross their path.

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