This book is written in the first person by the wonderful Martha (47), who works in a library. We are introduced to her in the prologue, along with her husband Anthony (an accountant), and their daughter Rosie (16).
After a shock ending to the prologue, Chapter One is set two years later. Rosie has moved out and Martha is living by herself. As you’ll guess by the title, Martha ends up in Scandinavia – Denmark, to be precise. I was due to visit Denmark in the 1980s, but my mum was ill, so we didn’t go. This book felt like I finally got to visit! And what a fascinating country too.
Helga Jensen has a unique writing voice, which I loved straight away. It’s a chatty, confiding style that is easy to relate to. I could really empathise with Martha (“I was never destined for adventure. I was put on this earth to wear comfortable clothing and look after others.” That’s me!!) and she comes across as so real. I could definitely relate to her anxiety about travelling alone.
Martha is grieving, feeling lonely and trying to find herself and work out what she has achieved with her life so far. So there are some deep topics, but it never becomes heavy, because there’s a lot of joy, wit and clever observational humour in the book. This is the first of Helga’s books that I have read, but I certainly don’t expect it to be the last. (I’m eagerly awaiting Gareth the Goldfish Goes to Denmark!!)
I have read over a hundred books this year, but Helga’s writing is amongst the very best. With many characters, you feel like you are watching them from a distance. With Martha, I felt I was living her life. Lars was great too and I enjoyed reading how her thoughts about him changed, seeing how she had to battle all her guilt and grief over her husband’s death before she could put her own feelings first.
This has everything you could possibly want in a book and I am recommending it as highly as I can!
10 out of 10 from me.
A Scandinavian Summer
It’s the right time for love, but is it the wrong place?
After the tragic, premature death of her husband Anthony, Martha has spent all her time focused on her teenage daughter Rosie in their small Welsh village.
But with Rosie leaving the nest, and Martha’s own job on the line, it feels that life is passing her by.
Inspired by her love for Scandi-noir dramas, Martha impulsively books a trip to Denmark, determined to push herself out of her comfort zone – even if the thought terrifies her…
Her trip to the tiny island of Fano becomes something much more: in the form of handsome stranger, Lars. Can Martha find love under the Scandinavian skies… but more importantly, can she find herself?
A romantic, warm and uplifting read, guaranteed to leave you smiling. Fans of Jenny Colgan and Kathryn Freeman will adore this feelgood read!
Author Bio –
Helga Jensen is an award-winning British/Danish best-selling author and journalist. Her debut novel was a winning entry in the 2017 Montegrappa First Fiction competition at Dubai’s Emirates Literary Festival. Her debut was also a contender for the coveted 2021 Joan Hessayon Award for new writers. Helga’s second romantic comedy, A Scandinavian Summer, went straight to number one on the Amazon Kindle charts for Danish travel on its publication day. Helga holds a BA Hons in English Literature and Creative Writing, along with a Creative Writing MA from Bath Spa University. She is currently working on a PhD.
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