Christer is too old to believe in fairy tales. He’s not the kind of guy to pick the proverbial seven flowers on Midsummer’s Eve so he can dream of who he will marry, and he certainly isn’t the type to fall for someone he’s just met. Especially not a womanizing blogger named Henrik.
Besides, Christer’s previous marriage didn’t end with a happily ever after. Therefore, he has no interest in gifting his heart to someone who lives five hundred miles away and probably isn’t even gay. His family is right: it’s time he grew up and stopped dreaming.
But Midsummer’s Eve in Sweden is a magical night, and Henrik won’t stop flirting. As the midnight sun shines down on the misty woods, maybe there’s room for one last dream.
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Title: The Seventh Flower
Author: Ingela Bohm
Release Date: February 8, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Holiday
My new novella, The Seventh Flower, takes as its premise a local legend which says that if you pick seven flowers on Midsummer’s Eve and put them under your pillow, you’ll dream of the person you will marry. Cute, sure, but where I come from it can be a challenge to actually find seven flowers in June, because it’s so far north. That sounds like I live on the tundra or something, but it’s just that the winter is very long and the seeds don’t have that much time to grow.
That said, there are some beautiful specimens to be found if you know where to look. In The Seventh Flower, Christer and Henrik first stumble on the arctic starflower. It’s a little gem, its perfect petals looking like they’re cut out from white paper. You can walk right past them and never notice, but once you do, they’re everywhere. Like tiny stars, they dot the shadowy forest floor, and they never fail to make me smile.
A more visible flower is the beaked parsley that you can gather in masses if you want. It lines every country road, and I think it would take over the entire world if given half a chance. It’s not very luxurious as flowers go, but in the soft light of the midnight sun, shrouded in mist, it’s not bad at all.
Then of course there’s the buttercup, which is such a pretty name when you think about it. I used to think they contained actual butter – probably one of my older siblings fooled me, because they always found that an exceptionally rewarding hobby. But when you look at the petals of a buttercup, they glisten in the sun and look almost oily, so it’s not that much of a stretch.
Cranesbill is another classic around here, and together with beaked parsley and buttercups it gives the Swedish summer its typical colors: white, yellow, and purple. Everywhere you look, in ditches and fields and hedgerows, you’ll see the same three colors: white, yellow, and purple. I sometimes think our flag should be those colors instead of yellow and blue.
In fact the county flower of my region is the heartsease, or wild pansy, which is made up of those exact colors, so that’s really fitting.
The marsh marigold was another favorite of mine when I was little. It was such an unexpected flower where it bloomed at the very edge of the riverbanks, shining golden against the dark water. Compared to the other small and unassuming flowers that we got early in the summer, it had the allure of a rare treasure.
So that makes six flowers that you can find in the north of Sweden in June, and perhaps Christer and Henrik will never find more than that. Maybe the woods where they celebrate Midsummer’s Eve are just too barren, just too cold to yield that seventh flower. After all, what can you hope for in a man you meet once, as a fluke? Not marriage, surely.
Ingela Bohm lives in an old cinema, tucked away in a northern Swedish forest where she can wander around all day long and dictate her books. She used to dream of being an actor until an actual actor asked, “Do you really need to do it?” That’s when she realized that the only thing she really needed to do was to write. She has since pretended to be a dietician, a teacher, a receptionist and a cook, but only to conceal her real identity.
Her first imaginary friend was called Grabolina and lived in her closet. Nowadays she has too many imaginary friends to count, but at least some of them are out of the closet. Her men may not be conventionally handsome, but they can charm your pants off, and that’s all that matters.
Ingela’s more useless talents include reading tarot cards, killing pot plants and drawing scandalous pictures that no one gets to see. She can’t walk in heels and she’s stopped trying, but she has cycled 12 000 miles in the UK and knows which campsites to avoid if you don’t like spiders. If you see her on the train you will wonder what age she is.
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