Basking in the long summer days, Axel hikes away from his worries through Norway’s idyllic mountain passes. He’s so at ease that he slips off his clothes and bathes in the cool lake water with no fear of being called out for his bright red hair or body full of freckles. Life is grand.
Peace and quiet doesn’t come easy for mystery writer Folke. When he stumbles across his copper-haired muse naked in a mountain oasis, plans for his future novel are long forgotten in favor of love. Nature takes a bite out of the serenity the two find, and the real world encroaches, making the happy couple wonder if they didn’t just suffer a summer fever.
You never know what will happen when you go hiking alone in the Norwegian wilderness. For sure, you won’t see a polar bear. But you might just meet the man of your dreams and fall in love.
Axel’s abusive ex-boyfriend has left Axel feeling insecure and withdrawn. When Axel first sees the older Folke, a published author from Denmark, he is immediately drawn to him but worries that Folke won’t find him attractive. Axel is, after all, a ginger and covered in freckles.
Of course, Folke thinks Axel and his glorious freckles are gorgeous. The men hit it off immediately, and the steam is not long in coming. Folke worries that he’s too old for Axel, who is 19 to Folke’s 29, but Axel doesn’t care about the age difference.
While I liked the Norwegian setting and the sexy scenes between the MCs, a few too many plot bunnies were crammed into this novella: Folke having to rush back to Denmark (this felt very contrived), the accident that first befalls Axel, and, especially, Axel’s dysfunctional relationship with his ex.
There weren't enough pages to process all these plot points, particularly the abusive relationship, and they were all resolved too easily.
There were also a couple things that stood out like a sore thumb: The odd discussion between Folke and the doctor regarding Axel's treatment made no sense.
And Axel’s mom came across as a clueless ninny. How could she NOT have known about Axel’s ex and stood there in the kitchen witnessing Axel's pain and humiliation without interfering? This felt like a setup so Folke could rush in and save the day.
I don’t think these are cross-cultural misunderstandings on my part. The motivations and behavior of the characters didn’t feel entirely authentic, and the secondary characters were caricatures at best. Plus, sadly, the epilogue was a total throwaway; why was it even there?
The writing felt a little artificial and stilted, and I wanted more culture and in-depth relationship development.
I would like to read more MM books set in Norway...and other fabulous countries.