The Wreath is the first of the
Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy by Sigrid Undset, winner of the Nobel Prize. This epic historical fiction focuses on
Kristin and begins in 1306 when her family moves to their estate in
Jorundgaard. Kristin is a Daddy’s girl, her early childhood memories full of
the kindness and attention her father showered upon her. In contrast, her mother was a dour woman, not
inclined to show Kristin affection. The family has its share of tragedy, and it
etches itself deeply on Kristin’s mother.
They also have their share of good fortune; Kristin’s father is a
careful man who takes his responsibilities seriously, increasing the family’s
wealth and prestige. Kristin has always
been a dutiful child, her attitude toward her father one of obedience and
fealty. At first she trusts her father’s
care in selecting a good man for her to wed.
As time passes, she bridles at the idea of her intended’s caresses or
his rule. She requests time in a convent
where she meets a man who stirs her blood, igniting a passion that causes her
to forsake her family’s wishes and risk her good name. The story seethes with intrigue, betrayal,
danger, and desire.
Sigrid Undset (1882-1949) was a Norwegian writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. Her most famous work is the trilogy "Kristin Lavransdatter" about life in Norway during the middle ages. First published in 1927, "The Cross" is the third in the trilogy and the final chapter in the story of strong-willed heroine Kristin and her attempt to rebuild her life in the wake of the Black Death. This fantastic novel is highly recommended for those with an interest in medieval Scandinavia and constitutes a must-read for fans of Undset's wonderful work. Read & Co. Books is republishing this classic novel now complete with an excerpt from 'Six Scandinavian Novelists' by Alrik Gustafrom.