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The Cross

(Kristin Lavransdatter #3)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  2,074 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Kristin Lavransdatter interweaves political, social, and religious history with the daily aspects of family life to create a colorful, richly detailed tapestry of Norway during the fourteenth-century. The trilogy, however, is more than a journey into the past. Undset's own life--her familiarity with Norse sagas and folklore and with a wide range of medieval literature, her ...more
Paperback, 366 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1922)
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Average rating 4.29  · 
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Kristin Lavransdatter 3: Korset = The Cross (Kristin Lavransdatter, #3), Sigrid Undset
Kristin Lavransdatter is a trilogy of three volumes: The Wreath. The Wife, and The Cross.
The Cross by Sigrid Undset, New York: Vintage Books, 1987, 403 pages.
As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires.
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Cindy Rollins
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookclub, 2019, reread
Two years ago, I was on a panel where I was asked what my 'heart book' was. I really hate that term but I remembered how deeply touched I was many years ago as a young mother by reading Kristin Lavransdatter and so I said it was my 'heart book.' I got some push back from some people after saying that so I decided to reread it using the newer translation in audio while following along in my older physical book.

I am utterly speechless at the power and beauty of this last volume. No other book has
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Individually and even more so when taken as a whole, the Kristen Lavransdatter novels are breathtaking. The scope of the novels is unreal; by the end, I felt like I knew this woman inside and out even though she never stopped being a mystery to me. The author follows her life from late childhood to death in sometimes overwhelming detail. The writing is weighty and challenging; Undset dives into her time period flawlessly and doesn't wait for the reader to catch up. It's hugely rewarding in a way ...more
Clif Hostetler
Aug 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
This is the third book of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. Here are links to my reviews of the previous two books, The Wreath and The Wife . This book covers the final third of Kristin's life (circa 1299-1350).

The final years of anyone's life is full of endings, separations and goodbyes. The same was true for Kristin. First she is separated from her younger sister due to an insult given between their husbands. Then when her brother-in-law dies her sister quickly remarries and moves to a
Kate Howe
I'm just gonna crawl in a hole now and cry for several hours about this beautifully tragic story.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
The final volume of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy is perhaps the best of the three. Judging by the titles and cover images, I had guessed that Kristin would spend this book as a widowed nun and that the book would be mostly about her grieving and repenting her sins. Fortunately, that’s a long way from the truth – the plot picks up again after the slower and more contemplative second volume, balancing its detailed portrayal of medieval life with plenty of juicy drama.

But the heart of the
Rebekah Leland
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This last book is a first-read for me. Unbelievably moving. Undset somehow created one of the most real characters in fiction.

“Now she realized her mother’s heart had been deeply etched with memories of her daughter, memories of her thoughts about the child from before she was born and from all the years the child could not remember, memories of fears and hopes and dreams that children would never know had been dreamed on their behalf, before it was their own turn to fear and hope and dream in
Silvia Cachia
I believe this post on Kristin Lavransdatter will be more popular than last, -at least, this trilogy is better known and well read everywhere around me.

Sigrid Undset was born in Denmark, but her family moved to Norway when she was two years old. She was a novelist that was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1928.

Her best-known work is Kristin Lavransdatter, a trilogy about life in Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, portrayed through the experiences of a woman from birth until death. Its

Oct 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I loved these books. They were just heartbreaking, but so real. Why is it that some really basic truths about life are entirely non-apparent until I read a book that shows them up? What is it about fiction that can spur us to realize true things we haven't understood through living life directly? That is a mystery on par with the deepest I know.

These books surely have that quality. They read exactly like real life, beautiful, heartbreaking, breathtaking; but somehow they encapsulate it in a way
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this trilogy! Last night I finished the this, the last of the trilogy and was profoundly effected by it. I got these three novels from the library, but need to purchase it for my bookshelf, which is reserved for only my favorite books. I tell everyone I can about these novels and how great they are, although no one I have met ever heard of the novels nor the author. Lovely! Wonderful! Profound! Intense!
Katie Schuermann
I am not sure I have before encountered a fictional story that so wholly and successfully renders the spiritual saga that is the life of a baptized Christian. (Rolvaag's GIANTS IN THE EARTH comes close, so perhaps there is something to the Norwegian approach to storytelling?)

Appropriately, not one Christian character in this trilogy is solely a hero or a villain. Each sins in thought, word, and deed - whether by commission or omission - and each manages to love and serve others according to the
Kelly McLane
Okay, this trilogy really needs a review, but it really can’t be done briefly. It is an incredibly powerful story as a whole and one thing I will say is that I see the trilogy as one work - you should really read all three books or it’s difficult to unpack the treasures and overall message. At times it can feel like quite a depressing depiction of life, but this is exactly why it is so important to read it right through. It sure is powerful as a whole. I don’t plan to get into the many details ...more
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
I finished this series today at work, and then I was left with a lot of time to think about it. There are so many things worth talking about, but what seems like it's going to stick with me the most is the role of God-given male power in Kristin's world. Book one is about the obedience Kristin owes to her father. In book two Kristin struggles with the obedience she owes to her husband, the obedience her husband owes to the king, and her feelings that she's somehow been cheated by Erlend being so ...more
When I closed the cover on this mammoth trilogy (1069 pages) I just sat there reflecting on the long lifespan of the titular character—from the late 13th to the mid 14th century.

I reread the last two pages lingeringly, not wanting the book to end. That more than anything I think is the sign of a good story; you don't want to leave it. In the book, Kristin Lavransdatter, you come to really know the woman by that name. You walk her life from earliest childhood to death in old age and even though
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-novel
What a wonderful journey this trilogy has been. I had my doubts about the third book given that "The Cross" is the title. Set in the early medieval world; before the Reformation, the Renaissance, and, of course, feminism and secularism, I was fully prepared to be turned off by getting to a Nunnery.
Much to my surprise and delight, I was so completely pulled into the mindset, time, and place of Kristin Lavrensdatter that I not only understood the arch of her character intellectually, but was also
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's just a tough act to follow. By the time I'd finished this book, I'd spent about six weeks in the daily company of this fictional woman whose every thought I understood, throughout decades of love and trials. Try picking up a normal book after this, it's weird.

In terms of what it's like to read this one, I enjoyed almost everything about it. Especially the opportunity to spend quite a lot of time with Simon, a bittersweet sort of irony hanging around so much of him. But oh me, quite a lot
Rory Fraser
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have no idea how to summarize my thoughts on this series. I read these books on a recommendation along with an evangelizing article from Slate that compared them to the Neapolitan Novels, which I loved dearly.

I see why the two were compared, as Kristin Lavransdatter contains the same mysterious propulsive energy of Elena Ferrante's masterworks. The two have very different aims, settings, and writing styles though.

Kristin Lavransdatter constantly surprised me - each novel plunged deeper into
Rebekah Theilen
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After reading Jane Eyre I said how I couldn’t help but think it would’ve been a very different novel had Charlotte Bronte wrote it in her 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Kristin Lavransdatter is definitely that novel. So now I’m wondering what and where is the novel with the woman writing in her 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s?

Of all three books in the trilogy, The Wife was my favorite in the character depth and variety, and this one, The Cross, was my favorite for its deep thoughts on motherhood and marriage, and
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having finished the third volume and hence the full 1,000+ pages of the entire Kristin Lavransdatter saga, I hardly know how to describe it except to say that it is Tolstoyan in scope, vitality, and profundity. Frankly, when I finished it, I just wanted to sob, or to take a long solo walk in the woods, or to hold my wife and children close and tell them I love them. Taken as a single work, Kristin Lavransdatter is absolutely a masterpiece – beautiful, true, and good - and one of the most deeply ...more
I'm so happy this trilogy is over! I wasn't sure I would be able to finish, but I did. The only good part of this book was the last 2o pages when it dealt with the historical event of the Black Death in Norway. The back of the book was kind of misleading in talking about this event like it was a big part of the book. I kept reading waiting for it and out of 403 pages that part doesn't start till 382. Basically, I would have preferred a non-fiction history book on Norway during this time than ...more
Sarah Middlestead
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book, and the trilogy as a whole, has left me without words. Kristin’s life is tragic in so many ways and her battles with faith are gut wrenching. This is not a book from which one easily recovers.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-bookshelf
I kept putting off reading the last volume because the first two made me so sad and I knew that this was would break my heart even more. Which it did. Oh my heart hurts for Kristin Lavransdatter... and for Erlend and for Simon and for Lavrans and all her sons.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have finally finished the third book of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy.

The trilogy is epic. I wouldn't call it enjoyable -- I felt very frustrated with Kristin throughout all three books, although I appreciated her journey the most in book three. This last book was the best of the three.

It was worth the read for me, to learn about medieval Norway (the land of my ancestors). I also found the exploration of medieval Catholicism and its mixture with superstition fascinating.

Others have said this is a novel of goodbyes, of closings and shutting down, and that is true. Kristen's life is winding down, and in this third book she is gradually bereft of every human relationship she once valued, from husband and sister to friend and sons. Alone, she turns to God, who remains with her. Central message of the series is delivered in that sentence. While I understand the popularity and the literary value of this series of novels, I cannot say that I "liked" them, because they ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful, sad story. My favorite aspect was how well motherhood was portrayed: the intimacy of the little years and the worry mixed with pride in the later ones (not that I know that yet, but considering how much I connected with the description of the little years I figure she's got it right as they get older too!). The relationships were complex and while I thought the characters made an awful lot of bad decisions, I cared about them all through. Kristin just seemed so real from ...more
Feb 14, 2013 rated it liked it
I probably would have never read those books if I wasn't currently living in Norway (or I would have given up... It's long!!) but i glad I stick with it as it is a really great way to understand the Norwegian culture. AND i score major points when I tell Norwegian people I read it ;-)
Lori Lynn
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved the third book in this trilogy as much as the first two. Once again Kristin seems to face unfair criticism from her community because of misunderstandings about her complicated relationship with her husband. The societal shifts occurring in this time period are greatly accelerated when the Black Plague arrives in Norway, a truly devastating historical event. I loved these stories and can understand why Undset won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I wish I could read them in the original ...more
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This trilogy does take some time to get through; I took breaks in between and during the three books. The time is worth it, if for anything else other than to realize how life revolved around the church, the liturgy, the feast days.
Kristin's earthly journey feels laborious, as life in the shadow of the cross is. Kristin, her parents, her siblings, her spouse, her children, her neighbors, are not predictable or tidy characters. The exquisite language describing the setting and scenery made me
Tracey the Bookworm
This is the last volume in the trilogy. I loved all three but this last one is my favourite. I read the Charles Archer translation editions and feel something was at times lost in translation. I hear the Penguin version may be better so at some future point I will try to pick that up.

This work, by Nobel prize winner Sigrid Undset, needs to be read more than once to get the full measure of it. I am not going to write more at this point because this is a group read and will await the completion by
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-modern
I don’t know that I’ll be able to resell this book given all the tear stains I left on the last few pages.

“She had not come to God with her wreath or with her sins and sorrows, not as long as the world still possessed a drop of sweetness to add to her goblet. But now she had come, after she had learned that the world is like an alehouse: The person who has no more to spend is thrown outside the door.”
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Goodreads Librari...: Add info (9) 3 11 Apr 30, 2018 10:45AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Date correction 3 13 May 28, 2017 01:51PM  
The 1700-1939 Boo...: Kristin Lavransdatter 3: The Cross by Sigrid Undset 1 12 May 18, 2011 12:00AM  

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Undset was born in Kalundborg, Denmark, but her family moved to Norway when she was two-years-old. In 1924, she converted to Catholicism and became a lay Dominican. She fled Norway in 1940 because of her opposition to Nazi Germany and the German occupation, but returned after the end of World War II in 1945.

Sigrid Undset received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. Most of the praise was for

Other books in the series

Kristin Lavransdatter (3 books)
  • The Wreath (Kristin Lavransdatter, #1)
  • The Wife (Kristin Lavransdatter, #2)
“On her death bed: “And her tears burst forth in a swift stream, for it seemed to her that never before had she understood to the full what it betokened. The life that ring had wed her to, that she had complained against, had murmured at, had raged at and defied – none the less she had loved it so, joyed in it so, both in good days and evil, that not one day had there been when ‘twould not have seemed hard to give it back to God, nor one grief that she could have forgone without regret—” 4 likes
“All fires burn out sooner or later.” 0 likes
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