Time for Honesty (The Solvik Series Book 1)

by Mette Barfelt

Synopsis

Time for Honesty: Upon the death of her mother, Emmalin inherits a house in the small town of Solvik. Although Emmalin loves the house and the town, her husband, Leo, refuses to move. Leo prefers to stay in Oslo and, more than anything, wants Emmalin to leave her job, have another child, and stay at home to be the perfect housewife. On one of her few trips abroad for work, Emmalin reconnects with Dennis, her first love. When she returns, Emmalin discovers that Leo is having an affair with her sister Julia, Emmalin leaves him to make her home in Solvik. There she must create a new life for herself, a new career, and a new relationship with Karoline, the daughter she gave up for adoption eighteen years ago.

Theme of the Book

Throughout the book, characters are faced with life-altering events that they must adapt to. Emmalin divorces her husband and leaves her job. Dennis learns he has a daughter. Leo faces imprisonment. It is how these characters react to the sudden changes in their lives that forms the underlying thread running through the novel.

What I Liked About the story

Ms. Barfelt has created a wonderful small town in Solvik. It is the sort of place that seems ideal with its shoreline, its forests, and most of all, its welcoming and caring inhabitants. Readers will want to stop at the diner, to eat Magda’s waffles, and possibly to join in with sledding and skiing. Ms. Barfelt has made her fictional town come alive.

The characters also come alive for the reader, especially the more peripheral characters. Sara, with her joie de vivre, her love of bright colors and her talent in baking is a woman most readers would love to know. Magda is Emmalin’s substitute mother, always ready with words of comfort and support. Veronica, the town flirt, is a pathetic woman searching for love and never finding it.

The main characters, Emmalin, Leo, and Dennis are less alive but also interesting. It is hard to believe a man like Leo still exists in a liberal society like Norway’s. His criminality is easy to believe in but his attitude towards Emmalin make him a completely unsympathetic character. Dennis, Emmalin’s original love, is the sort of man every reader of romance is looking for: handsome, kind, understanding, wealthy.

The plot, in Time for Honesty, while not particularly realistic, follows the “rules” of romance writing with secrets, misunderstandings, fears, and at the end, true love.

What I Didn’t Like About the story

Emmalin seemed a contradiction. Facing conflict, she seems weak and submissive. It is not until she catches her husband and her sister together that she shows any strength of character. On the other hand, she is able to create a successful business from scratch. This requires the strength and resiliency that would have stood her in good stead in dealing with her husband.

She is able to manage her new business by not hesitating to act and to make decisions. This is the opposite to her character in her personal life where she is constantly avoiding difficult conversations and difficult decisions. It is hard to picture a character so weak in one area and so strong in another.

Final Say

Time for Honesty is a very well-written romance novel. For me, the best part of the novel is the setting: the ideal small town of Solvik. Fans of romance should love this book.

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