Spotlight on Odin’s Promise–and a promise of a giveaway!
I almost hate to use the word ‘historical’ to describe Odin’s Promise because I think there’s an idea, sneaking around somewhere in the back of our brains, that ‘historical’ also means boring, dry, and maybe dated. This is ridiculous, of course. At least, it should be to anyone who loved the Little House on the Prairie books, or Anne of Green Gables series. And Sandy Brehl’s lovely Odin’s Promise reads like those, plus a bit of intrigue and more than a wisp of danger.
It’s also a wonderfully new perspective on World War II, as the entirety of the book takes place during the German occupation of Norway. The pov character is Mari, an eleven year old girl. She is normally quite soft spoken and easily frightened, relying on her two (much older) siblings, parents, Bestemor (Grandma), and beloved dog Odin to help her feel safe and secure. It is both ironic and appropriate, somehow, that the arrival of true danger with the flood of belligerent German soldiers teaches Mari that she’s braver than she knew. Throughout the book, we see her grow and push the limits of her capacity, until it is she who is taking steps to protect her family, friends, and fellow villagers.
And honestly, the book would be lovely if that’s all it had to it. But Mari’s sense of self is so woven into her family and home that it’s impossible to think of her without picturing the smiling faces of her family, the courage of her fellow villagers, the unshakable sense of humor of her Bestemor, and the cultural heritage of Norway, which they clung to with such tenacity throughout the occupation. But–and here’s the real kicker–the book doesn’t stop there! Through Mari’s eyes, one of the German soldiers slowly goes from being a fiend and demonic brute, to something more like a misguided human. And with this insight the book launches itself out of the category of lovely historic book and into the realm of beloved classic.
But that’s my perspective, and I’m kind of a sucker for history. Let’s see what Apricot-kitty thought:
“I really can’t believe you’ve done this to me. You’ve made me like a book–about a dog! And before you try to say the book isn’t about a dog, need I point you to the title? Yes, it’s about a dog named Odin.
Hmph. Well. At least he was quite tolerable, as dogs go. And I very much liked his human, Mari. She knew exactly when to keep still, and when to step out boldly, which is something you humans struggle with.”
Not a bad review, all things considered! Next week for MMGM I’ll be interviewing Sandy right here on the blog, and we’ll have some books to give away, as well! Stop by to snag your copy. 😀
And in the mean time…if you were suddenly living in an occupied country and on strict rations, what one item, food or something else, do you think you’d miss most? I almost hate to admit it…but mine might be dark chocolate!
You’ll find more MMGM spotlights, reviews and interviews on Shannon’s blog, so go to and happy reading!