Solhaven Sunny Hill

Aspiring artist David works as a carer at Sunny Hill nursing home. He spends the days playing along when the demented Bjarne heads out to pick up his dead brother by the bus stop, assisting the mean-spirited Mrs Sangenberg into her baths and keeping vigil at the bedside of those residents whose time is nearly up. He also passes the long hours by making lifelike portraits of those residents who request it. The perfected routine is disrupted when Cassandra comes along; a charismatic student nurse who falls in love with David’s artwork. Her father is a well-known gallerist and when she encourages David to also make portraits of the elderly patients in death, it happens to bring his art to a whole new level. As David and Cassandra enters into a whirlwind romance, David starts to see a path into the art world and a chance to finally leave his troubled upbringing behind. But soon the residents begin to die a little more frequently than usual…



  • “Simone Mørch Stjer blends municipal realism with mysticism and a brewing sense of chaos. In a stripped-back language she portrays the human desire to crawl up the societal ladder, but almost like in a classicist tragedy, this craving only results in the protagonist’s pain and exhibition of his inadequacies. /…/ One can clearly tell that the author herself has carried out nursing work. There are vivid experiences reflected in the text and in the characters’ relationships to one another.”

    Berlingske, Denmark

  • “It’s a truly great tale of betrayal, love and hope – and the backdrop of the nursing home is well portrayed.”, Denmark

  • “Half femme fatale, half manic pixie dream girl [the character Cassandra] opens up the novel’s perspectives towards horror, madness and genre effects.”

    Weekendavisen, Denmark

  • “What a surprise that ending was. /…/ Author Simone Mørch Stjer tells stories with great sympathy for her characters. The daily routines at the nursing home are described beautifully, at the same time as an unsettledness lurks beneath the surface. As a reader one is sucked into the milieus – it feels like one is there together with David in the bedroom at night, as he paints his death portraits.”

    Bibliotekerne HTK, Denmark

  • “There’s a touch of mystery to this and as a reader one is keen to find out just what is going on. /…/ Sunny Hill is an examination of how far one is willing to go for the one you love. And an exploration of how much one is willing to compromise with one’s values. It’s also an exploration of how much shame and bad conscience can dig away at you. /…/ Sunny Hill is an accessible read, thrilling in its mystery and all in all a great novel.”, Denmark

  • “This is likely one of this year’s most quirky novels, but disregarding the odd and immediate dilemma in the narrative, the story also places a spotlight on characters we rarely hear from. The elderly. A nurse’s life and everyday. But also an artist’s strive to achieve success, and just how far one is willing to go to accomplish that. /…/ in other places it sucks the oxygen out of the room with an intensity and provoking head shake to the narrative of the final stage of life.”

    Bogpassionisten, Denmark

  • “The novel is written in a beautiful language. A language that one easily becomes immersed in. /…/ These are some genuinely exciting themes to read about! /…/ Cassandra is an exciting and fearless person, that triggers something in me on a human level, but that also utterly fascinates me!. /…/ There’s so many emotions at play when reading this. Important themes, important choices. Important thoughts and important values.”

    Skyggetanten, Denmark

  • “It’s been a while since I’ve read something in one go, but that’s what I did with Sunny Hill. /…/ Here there’s ethics and morals, love and not the least lots of thrills. It’s not a crime novel per se, but it has elements thereof. It’s through-provoking and after the final page was read, I leant back wondering what to do with myself now.”


    Knirkes Boeger, Denmark

  • “David is a well-chiseled character and we’re given a well-rounded picture of him, his complacency (…) and his soft masculinity, which is initially under complete control by Cassandra’s ideas and whims. We also get to experience his many convictions, doubts and furies from front row, whilst Cassandra remains a tad of a mystery to David and to the reader. /…/  [Sunny Hill] is an accessible read, the theme around death is interesting as it ultimately comes down to limits (…) continuously being pushed.”

    Bogvæ, Denmark

  • Sunny Hill is a stunning book. There’s a sense of ease to the novel which makes the reader sympathetically inclined towards (pretty much) everyone in its gallery of characters, and there’s a subtle understated calmness that contrasts well against the book’s serious and slightly unsettling plot. The ending is truly fantastic in a spine-chilling way.”

    Danish Library Report, Denmark

  • “A well-written and unexpected novel that grapples with important subject matters such as loneliness, love, ambitions and ethics. David is an understated and nuanced narrator that tentatively has to navigate getting his legs kicked out from under him completely by the charismatic and filterless Cassandra. /…/ A truly great novel about finding one’s moral compass in the midst of love’s insanity.”

    Magasinet Liv, Denmark

Photo: Robin Skjoldborg Simone Mørch Stjer
  • Literary
Reading material

English sample translation

Detailed summary

Rights sold

Denmark, Gyldendal

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