The girl, the dog and the writer in Rome is a fun story about ten-year-old Freja who has spent all her life with her mother, Clementine. Freja’s mother conducts research for ten months every year in the Arctic regions of the world, investigating wildlife and habitats. Freja enjoys her unusual life style, however, when her mother is found to be unwell, Freja is left in the care of Tobias Appleby. A man she has never met before but seems to be a relative.
Freja is quite unaccustomed to being with other people and Tobias has never taken care of a child before, so between the two of them, they muddled their way through domesticity. Tobias is very kind and Freja doesn’t want to admit how much she misses her mother. One day in a desperate attempt to distract Tobias’ attention from her homesickness, she blurts out that she would like to go to Rome. Tobias immediately agrees and soon after they find themselves living in Rome.
A mystery develops and along the way Freja discovers she is able to make friends with a wide variety of people. The story ends with Freja and Tobias about to move to France which prepares the way for further books in the series.
The book finishes without explaining how Freja is related to Tobias, though it is hinted that he is her uncle. Presumably this become clear in future books. However, I found it a little disappointing to get to the end of a good length novel and not be rewarded with information about the biological connection between Tobias and Freja.
Overall, Katrina Nannestad has done a great job. The story is well-told, humorous and moves at a good pace. It contains a subtle encouragement for children to be brave about making friends.