Today I’m delighted to be sharing an excerpt from Heidi Eljarbo’s newly released novel Hidden Masterpiece as part of a blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club. Hidden Masterpiece is the third book in the Soli Hansen Mysteries series.
Soli stiffened and pursed her lips. Was Ingrid talking about the ledger Soli had hidden in Far’s trunk? Her stomach knotted at the thought of the Nazis deciphering the clues to the hidden masterpieces.
“Where did you find this book?” Soli asked, keeping her voice calm.
“In the coffer by the sofa-bed. I never go in there, but he asked me to locate his family Bible—not the one he reads every night, but the old one from his parents with all the dates for births, marriages, and deaths written on the first blank pages. I looked around and ended up checking the trunk.” Staring at Soli with wide eyes, Ingrid gnawed on the corner of her thumbnail.
Soli folded her hands in her lap. The ledger. Something had happened to the old ledger. The one Soli thought was safe at the bottom of her father’s trunk.
Trying to appear calm, she hugged herself, squeezing her upper arms until they hurt. “That trunk is always locked.”
“Yes, but I found a key. I only wanted to help your father find the Bible.”
Soli relaxed her grip on her arms. Poor Ingrid. This was not her fault. Soli had to choose her words carefully. If the ledger had fallen into the wrong hands, her undercover work could become even more dangerous. When Nikolai had entrusted her with the journal a few months earlier, she’d promised to keep it safe, learn what secrets the book held within its pages, and use those bits and pieces of information in their clandestine operations. She’d found two masterpieces, but a third one was still out there somewhere, waiting to be found. The missing ledger held clues that would help Soli locate that third piece of artwork. If the Nazis got a hold of that information, they would go to great lengths to obtain the treasure.
Soli got two cups and filled them with warm tea from a kettle. She handed Ingrid a mug and sat down and faced her friend again.
“That ledger is my responsibility.” Soli tipped her head. “Actually, I don’t believe my father has ever seen it. A while back, I asked if I could keep an item in Mor’s trunk, and he agreed—no questions asked, no reservations.” She took a sip of her drink and put the cup on the table. “But I’ll speak with Far about this. I’ll probably tell him I took it with me when I left home last time, or something like that. He doesn’t even have to know what it was.”
Ingrid’s brow wrinkled. “I have no idea why that horrible man threatened me to give him the old journal. Now, I still don’t know, but the expression on your face adds to my worries. This situation is serious, isn’t it?”
“Oh, it is. That book has caused people to become greedy and commit horrible acts, even murder.”
“My goodness. I didn’t know.”
Soli rubbed her hands. Other than her resistance group, only a few people knew about the ledger. Two were dead. The others served Der Führer and were not to be trusted.
In this riveting third book in the Soli Hansen Mysteries series, a woman’s courage to follow her conviction during a horrible war leads her to the portrait of a young Jewish heiress painted three centuries earlier.
Norway 1944. Art historian Soli Hansen has gone undercover to rescue masterpieces and keep them from falling into the hands of Nazi thieves. Working with a small resistance group led by her best friend Heddy, Soli will stop at nothing to thwart the efforts of the invaders of their scenic country. Trust and loyalty mean everything when working against a merciless enemy.
Riddles and clues lead the way to a mysterious work of art. It’s a race against time, but Soli and her network refuse to give up. However, when news arrives that her sweetheart Nikolai is missing in action, she strives to concentrate on the demanding quest.
From the streets of Oslo to the snow-covered mountains and medieval churches of Nume Valley, Soli takes risks larger than her courage, trying to preserve and hide precious art. But she must decide if it’s all worth losing the man she loves.
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.
Struggling with religious and social persecution, the Jewish Ruber family uproots once again and travels northward. On the way, they will sojourn in Amsterdam for Annarosa’s sitting in the master painter’s studio. But will they make it there? None of them can foresee the danger of such a journey.
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.
Book Title: Hidden Masterpiece
Series: (Soli Hansen Mysteries, Book 3)
Author: Heidi Eljarbo
Publication Date: 15th September 2021
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 260 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Dual Timeline