The 25th Anniversary Midwest Book Awards has recognized Odin’s Promise: A Novel of Norway, by Wisconsin author Sandy Brehl, as an outstanding middle-grade novel published in 2014 in the Midwest region.
May 14, 2015 – MILWAUKEE – ODIN’S PROMISE is a novel for young readers, the story of a girl in western Norway at the beginning of the German occupation of World War II. In 1940, eleven-year-old Mari is forced to face harsh new realities in her small village, as Hilter’s troops have overrun the country, including the community of Yrte Arne, not far from Bergen.
At Mari’s side is Odin, her faithful Norwegian elkhound. Odin quickly makes an enemy of soldiers who patrol the area. Soon, Mari is drawn into the activities of the underground resistance movement, as young and old find a way to oppose the occupying forces and show their love for their native land.
Sandy Brehl, the author of Odin’s Promise, is a retired teacher and an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She lives in Muskego, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee. This is her debut novel, with a sequel in the works that follows Mari and her family through the subsequent years of the World War II occupation.
The novel was developed after visits to friends in Norway, where Brehl heard accounts of the war years from elder Norwegians and learned of the quiet heroism of ordinary Norwegians in small villages, who mounted a campaign of obstruction and underground resistance to cause difficulties to the Germans, while avoiding escalating to a level that would cause widespread retaliation. The underground often used humor to mock the Nazi pretensions of Aryan superiority, and they employed unlikely couriers to carry messages, from old grandmothers to young children.
To develop the character of Mari, Brehl sought out a variety of other sources to her oral sources, including war-time diaries by young Norwegians and historical accounts of the years of German occupation.
Odin’s Promise is a wonderful middle-grade novel, especially ideal for dog lovers, for Norwegian Americans and other European-Americans whose ancestors were involved in resistance movements in World War II, and for all who enjoy reading stories about World War II history.
The Midwest Book Award competition, now in its 25th year, is sponsored by the Midwest Independent Publishing Association (MIPA). The awards are chosen by panels of publishers, writers, editors, librarians, and teachers, who pick the winners based on overall excellence. MIPA serves a 12-state region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Crispin Books, which released Odin’s Promise in May 2014, is an indie book publisher based in Milwaukee. With its sibling imprint Crickhollow Books, Crispin produces diverse books for adult and younger readers. For more, visit its website at http://www.CrickhollowBooks.com.
Odin’s Promise is available from fine bookstores that support titles by independent publishers, as well as from major online vendors such as Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and IndieBound.org. In Milwaukee, the book is available from Boswell Book Co.