Lars Mytting is a masterful novelist. In The Bell In The Lake, he skillfully evokes a dark, moody, and tragic romance with masterful descriptive narrative and quirky, empathetic characters. Mytting weaves a rich story which revolves around Astrid Henke, Gerhard Schonauer and Pastor Schweigaard, who sacrifice themselves for the things they hold most dear, family, community, and love. All three are thrown into circumstances that test their moral codes and their capacity for love leading them down roads unimagined.
There are so many things, about this story, that I really liked. I enjoyed the historical references scattered throughout the book relating to architecture, religion, and Norwegian folklore. I felt like I was learning something about a region and culture that I had otherwise known truly little about. The brutal landscape where this story takes place is full of vivid description about the people the little farming community tucked far into the hills of Norway. The characters are written with rich with quirky individuality that endears them to the reader. Mytting introduces his readers to this archaic Norwegian lifestyle that is steeped in religious tradition and carefully intertwines native regional folklore.
The romance that eventually develops, co-exist under the shadow of a sixteenth century story that still haunts the small Norwegian community and the destruction of their historical community church. Mytting presents us with a multidimensional story that blends romance, adventure, architecture and a cultural clash between the old ways and modernism. Mytting artistically combines these storylines that ultimately affect the lives of Astrid, Gerhard, and Pastor Schweigard forever. The Bell In the Lake is a thoroughly enjoyable read!!
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