Mystery, suspense and historical fiction from the Second World War? Sign yourself up for an amazing and well-told story by Kjell Ola Dahl, The Courier.
In 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In great haste, she escapes to Sweden, saving herself. Her family in Oslo, however, is deported to Auschwitz.
In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, who is Ester’s childhood friend. But Ester and Gerhard’s burgeoning relationship ends abruptly when he dies in a fire.
And yet, twenty-five years later, Gerhard shows up in Oslo, wanting to reconnect with his daughter. But where has he been, and what is the real reason for his return?
Ester stumbles across information that forces her to look closely at her past, and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…
An intriguing and unforgettable journey
From the get-go, I was completely absorbed into this story and very quickly became obsessed with the characters and the timeline. I loved the idea and how it was manipulated with mystery and suspense, as well as including an era I am so very interested in.
The story jumps between times and characters with elegance and grace; I’m not usually a fan of this, but the layout couldn’t have worked any better. I found myself itching for more from a certain period or character, but then having to wait just meant I was turning pages so very quickly.
The sentences were short and abrupt, which I really enjoyed. There was a perfect amount of detail and descriptions, partnered with lots of conversation so you can quickly get down to business with establishing what was going on.
This is definitely one of the more toned-down thrillers that I’ve read – to me, it was more like a crime/ historical fiction, but still had the fast-paced elements of a thriller. Despite this, I still absolutely adored The Courier and wouldn’t change a single element. I adored the ending and would have loved hundreds of more pages about this journey.
If I could embed emojis into this review, it would just be lots of hearts. This book is likened to John le Carré, which I definitely agree with. An intriguing and unforgettable journey.
The Courier, Kjell Ola Dahl, RRP £8.99 (paperback); Book Depository
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Thriller