In this riveting third book in the Soli Hansen Mysteries series, a woman’s courage to follow her conviction during a horrible war leads her to the portrait of a young Jewish heiress painted three centuries earlier.
Norway 1944. Art historian Soli Hansen has gone undercover to rescue masterpieces and keep them from falling into the hands of Nazi thieves. Working with a small resistance group led by her best friend Heddy, Soli will stop at nothing to thwart the efforts of the invaders of their scenic country. Trust and loyalty mean everything when working against a merciless enemy.
Riddles and clues lead the way to a mysterious work of art. It’s a race against time, but Soli and her network refuse to give up. However, when news arrives that her sweetheart Nikolai is missing in action, she strives to concentrate on the demanding quest.
From the streets of Oslo to the snow-covered mountains and medieval churches of Nume Valley, Soli takes risks larger than her courage, trying to preserve and hide precious art. But she must decide if it’s all worth losing the man she loves.
Antwerp 1639. Fabiola Ruber’s daughter, Annarosa, wants to honor her mother’s last wish and have her portrait done by a master artist who specializes in the art of chiaroscuro. Her uncle writes to an accomplished painter in Amsterdam and commissions him to paint his beloved niece.
Struggling with religious and social persecution, the Jewish Ruber family uproots once again and travels northward. On the way, they will sojourn in Amsterdam for Annarosa’s sitting in the master painter’s studio. But will they make it there? None of them can foresee the danger of such a journey.
I love everything history. What’s not to like about old castles, narrow brick streets, and log cabins with mullioned windows? Or how about the style of clothing that in some periods change with every decade, boasting everything from simple linen dresses to elaborate brocade and silk gowns adorned with lace and jewels?
I am fascinated with relationships and how politics, society, religion, superstition, and even mass suggestion formed people’s beliefs. All it took was a powerful or rich man, someone with amazing oratory skills, or enough charisma to entrap a crowd or a village.
Relationships between a landlord and his tenants, a high-positioned clergyman and his congregation, a nobleman and the poor peasants, parents and children, a young man courting a woman—these and many more are all interesting backdrops for any historical novel.
Hidden Masterpiece is a dual timeline novel. I chose to combine two very different times in history along with my passion for art history.
Art and art history has always been part of my life. My father was a painter and as soon as I could hold a pencil or a paint brush, he taught me the joy of capturing nature. Along with languages, I ended up studying art and especially loved learning about the old masters. It’s hard to explain how much fun I still have studying the details of brushstrokes and the use of light and shadow in a painting.
In Hidden Masterpiece, our protagonist and heroine Soli is an art historian during WWII. She has spent her life with her nose in art history books and is as excited as I am about recognizing sculpture or paintings of various saints from their attributes or learning about how painting techniques changed throughout the centuries.
But there’s a second main character. Annarosa lives in Amsterdam in 1639. To honor her mother’s wish, she visits a painter to have her portrait done. The artist is carefully picked because of two things. One—he is a most remarkable Dutch master painter. Two—he is greatly influenced by Caravaggio’s use of chiaroscuro in his work.
A common factor in each of the books in the series is Caravaggio and how other painters continued to use chiaroscuro—the use of strong contrast between light and dark—in their artwork.
These two women—although separated by centuries—are connected through their love of art. Add the story about Annarosa and her painting to the turmoil of Nazi art theft and plunder instigated by Hitler to furnish his dream of building the world’s biggest and greatest art museum in Austria, and voilà…you have a novel filled with mystery, spying, hidden artwork, and a three-hundred-year-old ledger filled with clues and vital information. Of course, there’s also friendship, loyalty, courage, and romance.
Writing historical fiction makes me happy. My hope is that you will enjoy Hidden Masterpiece, too.
Meet Heidi Eljarbo
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.
Connect with Heidi
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Heidi-Eljarbo/e/B073D852VG