OCCUPIED Kurt Blorstad
A Novel Based on a True Story
Odin Publishing
ISBN Print: 978-1-7326-3240-0
E-ISBN: 978-1-7326-3241-7
April 2019
Historical Fiction

Norway 1936 to 1999

It's 1999 and a man and his son return to a Norwegian village to celebrate the man's seventieth birthday. They arrive at a special spot that evokes much emotion in the older man, and he finally reveals a story to his son that he's told few people.

Trygve and Thoralf, born in America, are in their parents' homeland of Norway after the Crash of 1929. While their father finds work in New York City to send for them, they, their mother, and younger brother are living with their paternal grandparents. But that is coming to an end as their mother wants to spend time with her family in another village before returning to the United States.

Trygve tells the story in his own words through his journal as the boys settle into life with their grandmother at her rural farm. The early parts of the book give readers a wonderful background of a peaceful, pre-war existence. The boys settle into their new life, learning how to farm from their uncle, attending a one room schoolhouse, finding jobs to help out with the family finances, and observing the world around them.

As the years progress, there is some news that filters in about the Germans occupying neighboring countries. But soon there are German soldiers marching into the little village where Trygve and his family live, and nothing is the same any longer. Everyone must be careful what they say and hiding valuables and precious food becomes necessary. The boys' grandmother hides their American birth certificates and procures fake Norwegian ones for their safety. The men in the village begin to work secretly to pass information that trickles in.

Trygve and his brother observe the building of an airstrip, and they have a bird's eye view of the harbor from a spot near their grandmother's house. But everyone must be careful not to be curious. Just how dangerous will this occupation become?

OCCUPIED is a riveting, poignant, and very entertaining story based on fact. Trygve's journal is detailed with not only everyday happenings, but personal reflections as well. He is a sensitive, loving son, but a young man with excellent observation skills. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale, and, in fact, read it in one sitting. I couldn't put OCCUPIED down and highly recommend this wonderful book.

Jani Brooks