5 November 2021

Special Guest Post by Heidi Eljarbo, Author of Hidden Masterpiece (Soli Hansen Mysteries, Book 3)


Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

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.

Someone who chooses to write historical fiction must love history, right? And a way to have double the fun when plotting and writing the novel is doing dual timelines.

The main story of the Soli Hansen Mystery Series takes place in 1944. It’s the last months of WWII, and people are tired, desperate, and hungry. They are hoping and praying for change. Many have lost their homes, their livelihood, and their loved ones.

Soli has joined the resistance. She has gone undercover to preserve valuable paintings and keep them from falling into the hands of Nazi thieves.

Art was important to Hitler. As a young man his dream was to become an artist. Twice, he applied for the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria, but he was rejected both times. He kept painting, and many years later—when his focus was far less romantic—he decided to build the world’s biggest and most extensive art museum in his hometown Linz. Already in 1939, a great and horrible art plunder began.

Rumors about the Nazi art thefts reached curators in Oslo, Norway even before the Germans occupied the country. The National Gallery in Oslo started evacuating their priceless artwork in 1939.

In Hidden Masterpiece, our protagonist works with a resistance group who specializes in finding and preserving art treasures. But the road there is both mysterious and dangerous. Seventeenth century paintings are hidden, and clues and riddles must be solved to find secret places. 

Clandestine operations are organized to keep the enemy from discovering the artwork. With the occupying forces all around, Soli and her friends are constantly looking over their shoulders.

The second storyline happens more than three hundred years earlier. The main character is Annarosa, a Jewish heiress. We join her on a perilous journey from Antwerp to Amsterdam where she is to have her portrait done by a master artist.

In 1639, Amsterdam was a prosperous and growing center of commerce. This period is called the “Golden Age” of Dutch painting. From artists’ studios around the country, unprecedented quality artwork emerged, and Annarosa is there in the middle of it.

In mysterious ways, Annarosa’s and Soli’s stories are woven together. And although Hidden Masterpiece can be read as a standalone novel, it connects with the previous books in the series.

We follow Soli as she walks the streets of Oslo and flees on skis through the snow-covered mountains. Annarosa’s life is quite different, but the two courageous women—separated by three centuries—are united through their love of art.

With a lifelong passion for history, I am happy to share my excitement and joy of the past with you. I hope to show how people handle life's ups and downs. I love historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love, and others you don't want to go near. If the story has elements of hope, magic, and romance in the midst of challenging times, the better.

I hope you'll enjoy Hidden Masterpiece. I certainly loved writing it.

Heidi Eljarbo

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About the Author

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. Find out more at Heidi's website: https://www.heidieljarbo.com/ and find her on Facebook and  Twitter: @HeidiEljarbo

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