Handbag Bulging with Norwegian Cakes and a Sweet Romance

Time for Honesty

Mette Barfelt






On Boxing Day, it was time to seek solace from the guests. I hid away in my reading haven.  The seasonal dark weather inspired me to light candles, switch on the fairy lights and reach for the trusty kindle.

Earlier in the day, we had strolled past the white Norwegian church in Cardiff Bay, and this reminded me of ‘Time for Honesty’, set in Norway, and safely stored on my kindle. As soon as I opened the book, I read of ‘…old wooden houses, so perfectly in sync with the little town, where white houses abounded.’ I could imagine the delightful Norwegian church feeling far more at ease in its native setting.  Indeed, my wish to read a charming romance, with the magic of Christmas, was granted when lost myself in the novel for an evening.

Emmelin, a travel agent, living in Oslo with her husband and son, invited me to join her in Norway.  Unfortunately, she is faced with the death of her mother.  Her mother leaves her the family home in Solvik with its view of the ocean. Sadly, her mother has ‘taken her secret to the grave’, and one hopes the home will wrap itself around this lost soul, Emmelin.  Unfortunately, Emmelin’s husband is unpleasant and makes unreasonable demands.  Although, very fond of Emmelin, I wanted to yell some home truths about her husband and sister.  This is the twenty first century thus she will discover her independence through challenges – won’t she?

It was a pleasure to get to know Emmelin.  She would be a loyal friend who needs a little support, and the occasional nudge in the right direction.  Fortunately, her friends are always on hand with delicious vanilla custard bakes, custard doughnuts, cakes and cookies.  Despite the troubled childhood in Solvik, it provides Emmelin with a haven from reality.  Solvik is the ideal cosy retreat conjured while gazing into the flames of a cosy fire.  Café Soleside would be my go to destination if I needed a culinary treat to soothe the senses.  I would order smoked salmon and scrambled eggs baked with cream cheese and salad.  Although the food is Norwegian, there is a familiarity with my own culture, and I loved this.  It is also reassuring to be presented with a couple of villains who one hopes will also get their just desserts!

And there are some bitter twists in the novel to evoke your compassion for Emmelin.  The narrative gains pace as it heads towards Christmas.  I hoped there would be a comforting ending to compliment the ‘vanilla custard bakes with sugar glaze and coconut flakes.’ Or perhaps the bitterness of misunderstandings would be soaked up with the ‘creamy fish soup with seafood and newly baked rolls.’

I found a cosy setting for the Norwegian church as, ‘the ocean had frozen as I {she} gazed out at the white, untouched landscape. Little could compare with fallen snow.’ What a treat to find a charming Christmas tucked away in the corner of a sweet novel.  If only, I could have skied over the Welsh mountains to meet Magda, Oliver, Emmelin and her first love.    Instead, I decided to try some of the recipes at the end of the novel. Time to plan my New Year’s Eve menu, and Time to look forward to the year ahead.


About the Author:

Mette Barfelt is a Scandinavian author. After 16 years working for travel agents and airlines, she got a degree in Marketing, before she started writing books. Naturally, with her background in the travel industry, she has travelled extensively throughout the world and visited numerous countries. Her passion for travels and cruises has resulted in the non-fiction book “Alt du bør vite om cruise”, published by Aschehoug Publishing House in Norway.
She is now writing contemporary romances – sweet small-town love stories with a dash of mystery and has already published five books in the Solvik series in Norwegian. The books in the series are stand-alone novels. She lives with her husband and two teenagers, just outside Oslo in Norway.



Please see all my reviews at Books In Handbag and my blog at jessiecahalin.com.

4 thoughts on “Handbag Bulging with Norwegian Cakes and a Sweet Romance”

  1. Isn’t it wonderful to be transported in our armchairs to another culture through reading? I’ve never visited Norway (just Denmark) and I enjoyed this cosy read. It has intrigue, deceit, serious contemporary family problems and lots of delicious food and culinary delights thrown in…I like the photos in your review. Are they courtesy of the author?

    1. I agree, reading a wonderful destination for the senses. The photos were a team effort! One day, I hope to visit Norway.

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