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REVONTULI by Andrew Eddy

REVONTULI

Northern Lights

By Andrew Eddy

Publisher: Manuscript

Eddy’s debut novel depicts a romance between a German soldier and a Norwegian girl during World War II.

The book opens with elderly Marit arriving in Bavaria in 2013, seeking closure for her long-ago wartime experience. On the day the Germans rolled into her small farming village in northern Norway in 1940, she was an innocent teenage girl who thrived in her close-knit community but who was always pushing boundaries and refusing to accept limitations. As the occupation endured, she was exposed to the gritty reality of war, including witnessing an execution and stumbling into a burial pit for starving prisoners. One of the German soldiers, Hans, was assigned to live on their farm, and despite everything, Marit became enraptured with the handsome foreigner. Her mother pressured her to follow the traditions of her Sami people, but Marit’s beloved grandmother recognized that her young spirit couldn’t be tamed by ancient conscriptions. As a result, Marit refused to deny her infatuation with the forbidden Hans. Eventually, Hans succumbed to temptation and made love to the young Marit only to disappear and leave her to fend for herself; her village burned and she was evacuated. Pregnant and alone, Marit coped with the loss of her true love and her home, refusing, as always, to adhere to the rules that tried to bind her. Her final destination, however, isn’t revealed until 70 years later, when her beliefs are thrown into chaos. Eddy’s vivid, detailed descriptions of war, and of life in a reindeer-farming community, give depth and flavor to the story; at times, however, the longer descriptions slow the pace. Marit’s undying love and loyalty toward Hans, even after he abandons her, is reminiscent of the plight of many local women at the hands of soldiers, and her character remains admirable and engaging throughout. However, her inability to transform into the woman hinted at throughout the book may make the story feel incomplete for some readers; indeed, the final scene reveals that she has still not evolved—even 70 years later.

An uneven but heartbreaking WWII romance.