“Happy birthday dear Mom- Grammy, Tora, Auntie, Happy birthday to you!” The people that fill my screen – each in their own little box – sing and smile once more before disappearing, one by one. Blowing them kisses I say, “Thank you all. I love you!” As I reflect on this sixty-fifth birthday of mine, filled with the forced distances of our pandemic era, the phone rings, jarring me back into the moment.
“Hello Billy,” I say.
“Hey, Tor.” My cousin’s tone is serious. His words clipped.
“What’s going on? Everyone okay?” I ask.
“Yes, we’re fine but… well, I was just driving by your Uncle Einar’s place… I hate to tell you this, Tora, but somebody broke in. The sheriff is coming out in the morning. It’s quite a mess in there. Looks like every drawer and cupboard was emptied out.”
Uncle Einar’s home stands empty much of the year, and is the original family homestead my grandparents built in Solbakken, Minnesota, in the early 1900’s after immigrating from Norway.
“What? Are you kidding? Who would do that?” I spout. “You need me to come up there?”
A house. A mess. A mystery. Amongst the scattered papers and photographs, intriguing questions lay unanswered in the Anderson family lineage, hidden for decades. When a stash of ancient coins is found, and a gifted stranger moves in next door, windows are opened to incredible possibilities that transcend imagination and transport Tora to Solbakken: A
Tale of Generations.
Born into a family of educators in Minnesota, Wendy Jo Cerna’s love of books and education
was inevitable, eventually leading her into the world of theater in college, where she earned a BA
in Drama from the University of Washington and later an MS in Psychology from Walden
After an inspirational nudge, Wendy Jo authored, The Baby-Catcher Gate in 2017, followed by
her second fictional work, The Agreements, in 2020. Her most recent novel, Solbakken: A Tale
of Generations, is an intriguing story of mystery and generational bonds.