Children’s

Mari’s Hope (Odin’s Promise Trilogy)

Sandy Brehl

  • Review
By – April 25, 2018

This is the third and final book in author Sandy Brehl’s Odin’s Promise” tril­o­gy, which explores the Nor­we­gian people’s resis­tance to Nazi occu­pa­tion dur­ing World War II. This third book begins in Feb­ru­ary, 1943. Four­teen-year-old Mari and her fam­i­ly live in a small town in occu­pied West­ern Nor­way. The family’s job is to clean and do laun­dry for Ger­man sol­diers stay­ing in a near­by cottage.

Due to the Nazis’ pow­er and prox­im­i­ty, the family’s home can be searched at any time. A sol­dier does indeed come in one day, look­ing for con­tra­band. This expe­ri­ence becomes one of Mari’s mem­o­rable traumas.

Mari, trained as a doctor’s assis­tant, is able to help the sick and wound­ed and can trav­el around the region, allow­ing her to bring back need­ed med­ical sup­plies and play a role in the Resistance.

Through­out the book, Mari writes a jour­nal to her broth­er Bjorn. He is far away and it is unclear where he is, or whether he is safe. If the jour­nal is found, it would incrim­i­nate Mari and her fam­i­ly, so she writes in the dark, cold spaces of the attic. Only when she threat­ens to burn it to keep the fam­i­ly safe does her father hide it in a more pro­tect­ed space.

The sub­plot of a school friend who has joined Hitler Youth, yet remains pro­tec­tive of Mari, shows the com­plex­i­ties and impor­tance of close rela­tion­ships dur­ing these fraught times.

By using descrip­tive chap­ter titles, it is easy to track the sto­ry­line. There is also a glos­sary of Nor­we­gian vocab­u­lary and an address for a web­site that gives more his­tor­i­cal infor­ma­tion, as well as a teacher’s guide.

The book does an excel­lent job of show­ing how loy­al­ty, courage, and love of fam­i­ly and coun­try allowed the Nor­we­gians to sur­vive dur­ing the Nazi occupation. 

Marge Kaplan is a retired Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage teacher. She is a con­sul­tant for the children’s lit­er­a­ture group for the Roseville, MN school sys­tem and is a sto­ry­teller of Jew­ish tales.

Discussion Questions