(Soli Hansen Mysteries) – By Heidi Eljarbo
Publication Date: 20 September 2022 – 260 pages
Today this blog welcomes an excerpt from Heidi Eljarbo’s new book, Brushstrokes from the Past
A Historical Art Mystery
WWII and the mid-seventeenth century are entwined in this fourth dual timeline novel about Nazi art theft, bravery, friendship, and romance.
April 1945. Art historian Soli Hansen and her friend Heddy arrive at an excavation site only to find Soli’s old archeology professor deeply engrossed in an extraordinary find in a marsh. The remains of a man have lain undisturbed for three centuries, but there’s more to this discovery…
As Soli tries to understand who the baroque man was and discovers what he carried in a sealed wooden tube, problems arise. A leak reveals the finds to the notorious Lieutenant Colonel Heinz Walter, and soon, both Nazi elite and the Gestapo are after the treasure.
When Heddy and the professor disappear along with the artwork, Soli and her resistance group must find them before it’s too late.
1641. In Amsterdam, French musketeer Claude Beaulieu has had his portrait done by his close friend and artist Rembrandt van Rijn. When a band of thieves steal the precious painting, Claude and his wife Annarosa Ruber pick up their swords and a few belongings and go after the culprits.
Set in Norway during the tumultuous last days of the second world war, as well as the peak of the glorious baroque art period, these two stories are a must for readers who love historical fiction with adventure, suspense, and true love that conquers all.
Perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, Kathleen McGurl, Rhys Bowen, and Katherine Neville.
Available on #KindleUnlimited
Here’s an Excerpt from the book:
Only a few patches of snow were left in the shadiest parts of the forest. A lazy haze drifted horizontally between the tall trunks of pine, slowly lifting before melting into the rays of the early morning sun.
“How much farther?” Soli asked.
“From the map, I’d say five or ten minutes.” Heddy opened the lid of the tin box containing cold, boiled potatoes and herring. “Do you want some more?”
Soli picked up another piece of fish, put it into her mouth, and licked her fingers. Her mind raced with curiosity. An old archaeologist had contacted her by messenger boy the evening before. Professor Holst had been a respected member of the university faculty in Oslo for decades. Even after the Germans shut down the institution of higher education in the capital, they’d allowed him to continue teaching under the direction of Nasjonal Samling, the only legal political party during the war. Perhaps they thought he’d discover something of great value, treasures they could take back to their notorious Führer. But the desire to freely learn could not be stopped. The Illegal Academy for artists had been established in 1941, and their administration kept the professor’s extracurricular supervision in the dark. Art students secretly received their education in a loft above the corset manufactory—called the Factory—a place Soli knew well.
“What will we find when we get there?” Heddy asked.
“I don’t know. But since Holst specifically requested my presence, he must want to discuss something about art history. The note was brief and didn’t disclose any facts about what he’s discovered or anything else.”
“Wait,” Heddy said as they arrived at a clearing overlooking a field. “That looks like an excavation site.” She placed her hand in front of Soli, blocking her from continuing. “Do you see any German soldiers or suspicious-looking people around?”
“No, but there’s bound to be Nazi-friendly folks here, just like everywhere else.”
“I know. We just need to be prepared in case we must run. Be careful when you speak with these people.”
“Do you trust this professor?”
“Well, he used to be the head of the archaeology department at the university, and I learned a lot from him. He never seemed like the kind who’d abandon his country. Besides, he did say our boys in the woods had contacted him.”
“Milorg wouldn’t have approached him if he’d been Nazi; they wouldn’t risk being caught.” Heddy put the last piece of potato in her mouth. “But why did you take his classes when you studied art history?”
“The various fields of history are linked together. Somehow, they’re all dependent upon archaeological digs and research.”
“I understand.” Heddy kept staring at two men shoveling the ground at the excavation site.
“You’re worried.” Soli said.
“Always, Soli. Wherever we go, there are dangers lurking around corners. After all, I recruited you to our clandestine organization.”
Soli hooked her arm around Heddy’s. “And you feel responsible for my safety.”
Heddy nodded. “Something like that. But then again, we’ve been through a lot already, and you’ve taught the rest of us a thing or two about courage and perseverance.” “We’re in this together and keep an eye on each other.” Soli squeezed Heddy’s arm. “Come. Let’s speak with the professor first. Then we’ll try to save the world later, all right?”
Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don’t want to go near.
Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.
After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.
Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter. Heidi’s favorites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical. Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.heidieljarbo.com/newsletter
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