Review: Kristin Lavransdatter

Kristin Lavransdatter
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I feel silly trying to review this book. Maybe not silly, maybe more like out of my league. This was my second time through (and if you haven’t read it, look at the page count and be impressed). It was good to read it again…the first time I kept waiting and hoping for the Disney fairy tale ending. But it’s about Norway in the Middle Ages. So there are things like war, and snow, and the plague. The first time through I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a “happy ending.”
However, on the second read, minus the edge-of-your-seat quality of wondering what could possibly happen next, I was able to appreciate the beauty, struggle, and joy of life. A hard life, a complicated life, and a sinful life, but life tied to the church and the saints, tied to family, driven by love. Kristen and her father make the same point, which I think sums up my take-away the second time through the book: as hard as life is, in the end they both found themselves grateful for both the joys and the sorrows, and reluctant to imagine existing without the full measure of both.
Kristen Lavransdatter is gripping, immersive, and full of thanksgiving for the stuff of life. You should read it…preferably at least twice.

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