Of Darkness and Light
By Heidi Eljarbo
In this first book of a new historical mystery series, a young art historian faces a tough choice in German-occupied Norway.
Oslo, 1944. Soli Hansen’s passion for art history is and always has been a way of life for her. While she spends her days working in an art shop, WWII is taking its toll on everyone. Apprehensive of the consequences, Soli avoids becoming entangled in the war resistance efforts. She closes her eyes in hopes the enemy will retreat and leave her beautiful country for good.
But when a woman is found dead in the alley alongside the art shop and a painting from the last auction goes missing, Soli is thrown into the thickest of the fray involving both Nazi art theft and the Norwegian resistance.
Once Soli finds her courage, there’s no turning back. Her personal life is turned upside-down with danger, lies, spying, and an incredible discovery.
In this dual timeline novel, Heidi Eljarbo paints a vivid picture of what people are willing to do in desperate times.
Soli passed the German-occupied parliament building. The red flag with a black swastika blowing in the wind hung above the entrance. A compulsion to flee overcame her every time she neared the place. The ancient emblem of prosperity had become a symbol of hate. Deutschland siegt an allen Fronten. The banner on the brick wall exclaimed what the enemy thought of themselves. She’d learned enough German in school to understand its meaning and hoped and prayed it was not true. Germany could not win on all fronts. She would be more than happy to tear down the banner, but what good would that do? She bit her lip and continued. One day, someone or something would conquer the horrid occupants. She had to believe in freedom again.
As she rounded the last corner on a small street east of the city hall, she hit the brakes so as not to run into a crowd of people outside the entrance to Mr. Holm’s Fine Arts Shop. An ambulance was parked with two wheels on the sidewalk, and a police car with blinking lights stood on the other side of the street. Curious neighbors had gathered, and a reporter was interviewing a woman holding an infant. Four boys stood plastered against the window of the shop, their little faces pressing against the pane. What was happening inside?
Soli pushed her way through the crowd and leaned the bicycle up against the second window, inside which an easel and art supplies were displayed on a burgundy silk fabric. Behind them, against a back wall, she’d propped up a framed stilleben of roses and grapes.
The bell above the door jingled as she entered. The store had never been this crowded, and with a quick glance, she discerned they weren’t all customers. What was going on?
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Of Darkness and Light
Heidi Eljarbo grew up in a home filled with books and artwork, and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as a freelance writer, magazine journalist, and painter.
After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.
The family’s chosen retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.
Heidi’s favorites are her family, God's beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.