Mari's Hope (Odin's Promise Trilogy)

Crispin Books   2017

 

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. Recommended for ages 9 to 13.



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