ginnekenamber's review against another edition

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5.0

Dit boek is me aangeraden door een vriendin vlak voor de omstandigheden zodanig veranderde dat we niet meer naar buiten mochten. Ik heb er voor mijn doen dus behoorlijk lang over gedaan. Toch was het zo dat hoe verder ik kwam, hoe slechter ik het weg kon leggen. Dat komt vooral omdat alle personages zo echt doen voorkomen én alle emoties buitengewoon goed beschreven zijn. Daarnaast doet het boek niet onder voor een hedendaags verhaal.

Wie denkt dat het leven vroeger makkelijker en/of overzichtelijker was, krijgt het tegendeel te zien en wordt meegevoerd in het leven van Kristin, wiens emoties en gedachtegangen zo echt beschreven zijn dat ik nu het gevoel heb dat ik haar heb leren kennen en ik soms kon vergeten dat het fictie was.

Kristin groeit op in de bergen en wordt verliefd op Arne, de buurjongen met wie ze lang is opgegroeid. Maar Arne wordt vermoord door een andere dorpsgenoot en zo wordt voor het eerst haar hart gebroken. Haar ouders hebben een zwaar leven, ze heeft nog een gehandicapt zusje.

Als ze door haar vader wordt beloofd aan Simon, stemt ze daar in eerste instantie mee in, totdat ze een jaar naar de stad verhuisd en verliefd wordt op een andere jongen. Nu moet ze zowel tegen haar verloofde als tegen haar vader zeggen dat ze eigenlijk iemand anders ziet zitten, maar deze ander is eigenlijk niet echt beschikbaar.

Het is een trilogie en aan het eind van het boek is Kristin ongeveer 18 jaar oud, dus ik ben benieuwd hoe het verder gaat...

annielia's review against another edition

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challenging emotional sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

ceallaighsbooks's review against another edition

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dark emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

“Perhaps I’ll have the courage to ask the one who created me, such as I am, whether He will have mercy on me when the time comes. For I have never asked for His mercy when I went against His commandments. And I have never asked God or man to return one penning of the fines I’ve had to pay here in my earthly home.” 
 
TITLE—Kristin Lavransdatter I: The Wreath 
AUTHOR—Sigrid Undset 
TRANSLATOR—Tiina Nunnally (her translation of this text is widely considered to be superior to the older translation by Charles Archer & JS Scott which is said to be heavily censored and stylistically muddled so be aware of that if you’re trying to read this in English) 
PUBLISHED—1920; won Nobel Prize in 1928 
 
GENRE—historical fiction 
SETTING—Medieval Norway 
MAIN THEMES/SUBJECTS—medieval Norwegian culture & society; Christianity, theology, & religion; love; personal agency 
 
WRITING STYLE—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
CHARACTERS—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
STORY/PLOT—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
BONUS ELEMENT/S—there were so many great snippets of pre-Christian cultural elements and beliefs; plus all the descriptions of the Norwegian landscape were inspirational 
PHILOSOPHY—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
 
“She sat and gazed out over the dark mountain slopes across the valley, and she remembered that day, many years ago, when she went up onto the ridge and saw how many mountains there were between her own village and the rest of the world.” 
 
So I actually really enjoyed this book, which I was kind of not expecting to at all. I thought it was going to feel really stuffy and stilted and it really wasn’t. It was actually quite dark and philosophical—though in a very subtle way—and the theology was quite interesting as well and not a perspective I was particularly expecting. And the writing style was really beautiful and the descriptions of the landscape were all stunning. 
 
I also really loved and appreciated the ending which at first I was like “erm ok?” but after I thought about it for a minute I think I realized what Undset was trying to accomplish with that how even though the story ended in the desired marriage, it wasn’t exactly the same as the story having a happy ending—as emphasized by her mother’s own story. I think Undset was being a lot deeper than I initially thought she was. I’m really looking forward to continuing the series this winter! 
 
“We must not begrudge those who have exhausted their peace in the village whatever peace they may find on the mountain, that’s what I think.” 
 
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25 
 
TW // animal death, severe injury of a child in an accident, attempted rape, fatphobia, suicide (Please feel free to DM me for more specifics!) 
 
Further Reading— 
  • Kristin Lavransdatter II & III, by Sigrid Undset
  • Bernard Cornwell
  • Sharon Kay Penman
  • The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett (but not the sequels 😅)

 

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clare_garrison's review against another edition

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5.0

Wow, I don’t know how this hadn’t been on my radar more before now. Well-written, well-developed characters, both central and peripheral, fascinating historical details, it has everything going for it. I was immediately swept away into Kristin’s world and impressed by the realism of life in medieval Norway. The sense of place and time are perfect, and the characters are so real and human. Following Kristin as she grows and learns and makes choices—both bad and good—is a privilege. I especially loved the complicated and real dynamic of the relationship between Kristin and Lavrans.

shereadsalotofbooks's review against another edition

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5.0

Oh Kristin Lavransdatter.
I read this series a few years ago but my book club read the first in the series last month so I skimmed them again to join the discussion.
My opinion didn’t change much. I still love this series by #nobelprize winning author Sigrid Undset.
We discovered how much of a difference translation makes in our discussion. The original Norwegian was translated by Charles Archer shortly after publication in the 1930’s and again by Tiina Nunnally in 1997. While both translations are good, those of us who read the Archer translation enjoyed the books more, keeping with the medieval feel of the story, while the Nunnally translation was probably done with a wider audience in mind.
Recommended if you are interested in the epic story of an early Christian medieval Norwegian girl named Kristin Lavransdatter.

lilee's review against another edition

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challenging emotional reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

jersy's review against another edition

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emotional reflective relaxing medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

While this is a simple story that has been told, the way it is told is quite unique.
First, this book goes from idylic, quiet moments where you get to know the Norwegian scenery, the characters and medival life, to sudden intense moments of drama. The emotions feel very real, though, because there is so much attention to detail and the characters are so well written that it's easy to be in their side even if you don't always agree with them. They are very nuanced. Also, why do I see my teenage self represented so much better in classics than in modern books?
I love how Sigrid Undset shows what certain events and developements do to peoples minds and that, even if religion plays a huge part, as it did in the middle ages, it's not a book of blind faith, even if it's sympathic towards christianity.
I want to spend more time with these characters and even if I know it's a hundred years to late for it, I would love a spin-off book about the parents

stig_dyrdal's review against another edition

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4.0

[b:The Wreath|6220|The Wreath (Kristin Lavransdatter, #1)|Sigrid Undset|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1446567379s/6220.jpg|25477] is the first novel in the Kristin Lavransdatter-trilogy of historical novels written by Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset. This work formed the basis of Undset receiving the 1928 Nobel Prize in Literature, which was awarded to her "principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages". And it was well deserved.

SpoilerThis section of the trilogy is named for the golden wreath Kristin wears as a young girl, which is reserved for virgins of noble family. It symbolizes her innocent life before she meets Erlend; after he seduces her, she is no longer entitled to wear it, but does so out of fear of her sin coming to light.


Undset's description of the Norwegian landscape and its inhabitants and culture is phenomenal! It's clear that a great deal of research and effort went into this book. I don't particularly enjoy the angsty teenager character trope that is Kristin, but I somehow learned how to love to hate her. I did however immensely enjoy the dynamic between Kristin and her parents. The old-timey prose took some getting used to, but it worked in the story's advantage. This first installment is a true literary gem and I look forward to continue with the trilogy one day.

roryjf's review against another edition

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5.0

Wommen may go saufly up and doun.
In every bussh or under every tree
Ther is noon oother incubus but he,
And he ne wol doon hem but dishonour.