This quirky little gem of a book, with its intriguing subtitle ‘How to give Grandpa a Viking funeral’ perfectly illustrates the maxim that anything is possible with sufficient determination and resourcefulness. The most powerful motivation behind this particular triumph is Carla’s love for her Grandpa Magnus, who left her a letter telling her of his secret dream of a Viking funeral and made her feel she could do ‘this amazing thing, but not on her own’. The odds seem stacked against her – she’s only a child, she must break the law, she must work in secret as her mother, ragged with grief, is determined to organise a conventional, staid funeral for her father.
What follows is a touching story, rooted in realism, fraught with moral dilemmas and physical hardship, but one which gradually brings together all those who loved and respected Magnus and were determined that his send-off should have nothing to do with sterile convention but everything to do with honouring a man’s last and deepest desire. Carla is guided by her Grandpa’s voice, which never leaves her, and the final chapter unites Grandpa’s friends and family in an act of homage and a knowledge that ultimately, what really matters is the connection between people, not the laws which seek to manage them.