I love books set in Scandinavia – or the Nordic countries if you include Finland and are pedantic about your geography. You couldn’t set a book anywhere more beautiful than my native land.
I may be a little biased, of course.
But having just made a quick visit to the Åland Islands, situated between Finland and Sweden, where my Love on the Island series is set, I am once again surprised why more writers don’t use this stunning location as a setting for their books.
It’s even harder to find any books set in Scandinavia which are not either Nordic Noir or historical Viking stories. For some reason, the Scandinavian landscape seems to inspire writers to write books with lots of blood and gore in them.
When the Lisbeth Salander books by the late Stieg Larsson became best-sellers in the Noughties, and many other Nordic Noir books were suddenly published, I remember reading an article about why the genre was so popular. ‘Blood shines brighter on snow,’ was that particular corespondent’s verdict.
I prefer an in-depth analysis of why the genre is so popular by Fiction Beast on his YouTube channel. He thinks Nordic Noir novels are practical like the ethos behind Lego and IKEA. And that at the same time they are ‘cries of pain’ from the happy, wealthy people of Scandinavia.
So as you can see, I have always been a bit of an anomaly with my books, which are set in the Åland Islands but are not Nordic Noir. However, I recently came across four other novels set in Scandinavia that are more Romance than Noir.
Icelandic Romance by Victoria Walker
Victoria Walker has written two novels set in Iceland. They are both books in a new series called, Icelandic Romance, and look just the kind of winter stories you need when you want to take your mind off your own troubles.
Set in Reykjavik, the books are cozy winter romances full of snow and maybe a glimpse of the Northern Lights. These books are full of hygge, rather than murder and mayhem. Now, isn’t that refreshing?
A Scandinavian Summer by Helga Jensen
A Scandinavian Summer is a romantic comedy, another rare breed among Nordic fiction.
It’s the right time for love, but is it the wrong place?
After the tragic, premature death of her husband Anthony, Martha has spent all her time focused on her teenage daughter Rosie in their small Welsh village.
But with Rosie leaving the nest and Martha’s own job on the line, it feels that life is passing her by.
Inspired by her love for Scandi-noir dramas, Martha impulsively books a trip to Denmark, determined to push herself out of her comfort zone – even if the thought terrifies her…
Her trip to the tiny island of Fano becomes something much more: in the form of a handsome stranger, Lars. Can Martha find love under the Scandinavian skies… but more importantly, can she find herself?
This a romantic, warm and uplifting read guaranteed to leave you smiling.
The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan
A dramatic story of secrets, betrayals, and a surprising love affair, The Hidden Beach is the perfect book to read while traveling in the region. Set in the Stockholm archipelago, it describes the landscape very beautifully – and accurately.
Through Karen Swan’s heartfelt writing, I was swept away into the scenery that I know so well.
Bell is a nanny working for a well-to-do Swedish couple, Hannah and Max. They have a seemingly charmed life, but, underneath the veneer, there are deeply-buried secrets. These come to the surface when Hannah’s ex wakes up from a 7-year coma.
Wishing not to get snarled into her employers’ personal tragedy, Bell tries to distance herself. However, Max and Hannah’s problems make her relive the secret tragedy that she herself is recovering from. When she meets and falls for a stranger on the longest day on the summer island, her life becomes more complicated than she had ever imagined.
Do check out this thrilling read with so many twists and turns that it could quite easily fall into the category of a Nordic Noir mystery. There are no bloody murders, though, I promise.
I hope you enjoy these books set in Scandinavia which are not Nordic Noir. I, for one, cannot wait to read these different kinds of stories set in my home region.
Would You Like a Free Scandinavian Love Story?
The Day We Met is a short Nordic love story and free for you to read today.
It’s a snowy day at Uppsala University in Sweden where Alicia is studying English. Stressed over her exams, with a migraine hovering at her temples, the last thing she expects is to meet the man of her dreams.
Liam, a recently qualified British doctor is attending a medical conference. A beautiful leggy blonde chooses to sit at the same table as him in the busy student canteen. He’s not looking for love, but there’s something beguiling about this Nordic beauty and he cannot take his eyes off her.
“An easy and heartwarming read. Two people meet in a different country from both their origins and find their mate for life. Beautifully written it describes in full (it makes you feel cold…) the winter snow storms and their physical effects on people. Good start for a series!” 5***** Amazon
The Day We Met introduces the two main characters of Helena’s new series, Love on the Island.
This short story is available FREE to my Readers’ Group.