I know what you’re thinking – Nordic fiction for Valentine’s Day? It isn’t exactly romantic, is it? Ah, but I disagree. Even some Nordic Noir titles have love stories incorporated – just think of Viveca Sten’s Sandhamn murder series. All throughout the nine books, when we see the mystery unfold, we also learn about the complicated love lives of the lawyer Nora Linde and policeman Thomas Andreasson. In one book, Nora falls madly in love (see below).
All Hearts Day
There’s also the fact, that all over Scandinavia Valentine’s Day is celebrated more generally as a time to remember dear friends – with cakes and sweets – than it is to have romantic, candle-lit dinners with your lover.
This is why I think the following selection of Nordic fiction titles for Valentines is more than befitting, as they also celebrate all types of love, be it romantic or platonic.
Tonight You’re Dead by Viveca Sten
Nora Linde is divorcing her husband but finds new love in the midst of a murder mystery. Her friend, Detective Thomas Andreasson, is investigating the Swedish Coastal Rangers after a student who discovers historic abuse of young cadets apparently commits suicide.
Letters from Tove by Tove Jansson
This is a fantastic collection of intimate letters written by Tove Jansson, the Finnish author and creator of the Moomin trolls. These letters are to her family and lovers – both male and female. They are set against the bohemian circles of Helsinki and the hideaway in the archipelago she shared with her partner, Tuulikki Pietilä. A real treasure of a book!
To Cook A Bear by Mikael Niemi
This novel is admittedly not very romantic, but it is still of the story of love. Here is a book about love for nature and God which turns into an intelligent thriller. You may remember Mikael Niemi for his debut book, Popular Music, which came out ten years ago in English. His writing style is classically Nordic. Simple, but funny and sad at the same time.
White Night by J J Marsh
If there’s one thing Beatrice Stubbs hates more than weddings, it’s wedding planning. So when a missing persons’ case in Finland offers a chance of escape, she grabs assistant Theo and runs to the Land of the Midnight Sun.
You are probably aware of my continued love of the Beatrice Stubbs series by JJ Marsh. This, the one but last in the series, is my particular favourite, set as it is in my beloved Helsinki.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Finally, here’s a heartwarming story of people who, trapped together in the middle of a bank robbery, find solace in each other and even in the criminal mastermind that is the robber himself.
Backman also wrote the wonderful novel A Man Called Ove which was turned into a lovely heart-rendering film. In Anxious People, Backman examines humanity in its rawest form. What could be better for Valentines Day?
Happy Valentine’s Day
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Nordic fiction titles for Valentine’s!
And that you’ll have a lovely Valentine’s Day, whether you celebrate it with family, friends or loved ones. Or with a good book. If you are far from someone you love dearly, why not send them a book to enjoy too?
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