Author(s): Lars Mytting
'Norway, 1880. In the secluded village of Butangen at the end of the valley, headstrong Astrid dreams of a life beyond marriage, hard work and children. And then Pastor Kai Schweigaard comes into her life, taking over the 700-year-old stave church with its carvings of pagan deities. The two church bells were forged by her forefather in the sixteenth century, in memory of conjoined sisters Halfrid and Gunhild Hekne, and are said to have supernatural powers. But now the pastor wants to tear it down, to replace it with a modern, larger church. Though Astrid is drawn to him, this may be a provocation too far. Talented architecture student Gerhard Schönauer arrives from Dresden to oversee the removal of the church and its reconstruction in the German city. Everything about elegant Schönauer is so different, so cosmopolitan. Astrid must make a choice: for her homeland and the pastor, or for a daunting and uncertain future in Germany. Then the bells begin to toll...
From the author of The Sixteen Trees of the Somme, this is historical fiction at it's best! Set in Norway in 1880 in the secluded village of Butangen famed for its timber-framed stave church.
The author passionately weaves together history and folklore and effortlessly transports the reader back 100 years to this remote Norwegian village where life is so hard and cold, I could almost feel the cold seeping through the walls of the church, such exquisitely detailed description.
The villagers' lives are torn between pagan beliefs and religion, the past is everywhere and most of all it resides in the sister bells, two church bells that are reputed to warn of misfortune and danger.
Young Astrid, whose forebears cast the bells, longs to discover what lies beyond the village and inevitable marriage
and in the end, must make a difficult choice.
Rich in history and atmosphere, highly recommended. Lynne