Northern Pole by Julie Fearn-Howerska

  • : Drama, fiction, mid-20th Century


  1. Marijo Thompson


    The dual perspective works very powerfully in this scene. I love that Bridget’s POV is mostly dialogue as she shares what’s going on with Roman and seeks help for her family. Her pain is very palpable here. I was so annoyed by the ambulance workers insisting that she come. I want them to go look for Roman and Janek NOW!
    I found Roman’s perspective equally compelling: how it’s all description as he’s vigilantly searching for a safe place to sleep and hide from the Germans. Poor, poor Roman.
    The only thing that threw me out of the scene for a moment was this line: “The earlier storm had given way to a freshness in the air.” It’s a lovely line, but if Roman doesn’t think the storm is a storm but the Germans’ bombs, I’m not sure if the line works. It gave me pause.
    EIther way, I read this scene teary-eyed because of how utterly devastating this is for this lovely family. Please get help, Roman. Please!

    1. Julie Post author

      HI Marijo, thank you so much for pointing the description of after the storm as misplaced. Isn’t it easy to get carried away. Roman will get help but not before a little more dark night of the soul….it’s gruelling right now. 🙂

  2. Nina

    Hide and seek, for sure. You’ve done such a good job setting this up that Roman’s behavior is completely understandable and I’m sure we all feel for him, as we feel for Bridget. I think he may well have snapped out of his terrors by morning. You already have lots of feedback so I’ll just say how impressed I was with the graceful way you showed each characters reaction to Roman’s actions. 🙏🏼

  3. Anne

    Hi Julie
    Vivid writing in both scenes, Roman’s distress is hard to take and it reminds us of the lack of understanding around PTSD. I hope he gets appropriate treatment and returns to Bridget healed.
    Excellent detailing, we’re right in the moment with both Bridget and Roman and it provides a hook for the story going forward into a happier and more settled future for the couple. Once they both understand how damaged Roman is they can support each other, but what must happen to Roman for them to get to that point??
    Really moving stuff, and it’s a turning point for the story. Well done and here’s to more of it!!

    1. Julie Post author

      Thank you so much. I’m so relieved the two mini-scenes are well received. I tried to plumb from my memories of when my first marriage erupted when Roger (you know who) went off the rails. As for Roman I have to use my imagination. There will be a happier time but there is still a little more emotional carnage to get through. I am so glad you’ve stayed with me as my worst fear all along this amazing journey has been that I would turn the reader away with the darkness of some of the story. But my readers are rooting so I have done something okay! 🙂

      1. Anne

        Julie, you’ve done loads of okay!! There are dark aspects to the story but there’s nothing gratuitous about them, and the contrast with the love story is brilliant.
        I wonder if we’re going to see Elouna again? The conclusion of her story with her German husband and whether Roman accepts that she did what she had to do to survive would be amazing to see, plus the relationship she could forge with Bridget.
        So many wonderful threads to still explore! You’re doing wonderful stuff.

        1. Julie Post author

          Anne, yes Elouna is in poised in the wings and I will wrap up her story. Can’t say more as I don’t want to a spolier 🙂 x

  4. SM

    Wow!! How traumatic for everyone involved. I had always thought that when a person suffers PTSD, it comes and goes, but here it appears that Roman cannot realize that the war is over and that the Germans are not coming.
    You did a fantastic job of showing Bridget’s agony, Roman’s desperation and Janek’s fear. It’s so terrible that the Police reacted the way they did without really looking out for Janek’s feelings. Poor Roman, it’s terrible how much he suffers as a casualty of war.
    You moved this scene along at a brisk pace except for the part about the nettles, which was a great way for us to see inside Roman’s mind and remind us about the lingering effects of his traumas.
    Fantastic scene!!

    1. Julie Post author

      SM, thanks so much for your comments and praise. I agree with you about PTSD coming and going. I wasn’t sure when Roman would snap out of it, but on reflection I think when he wakes in the morning and the police arrive he should be back to his other self and wondering what is going on. I really appreciate your comments and I was much in doubt about how to handle this. I’m glad you appreciate the nettle incident I wanted to slow things down for a brief respite. I can hardly believe I’ve come this far and am getting more and more nervous about ending the story -its such a massive weight to not blow it. Thanks 🙂