Clif Hostetler's Reviews > The Wife

The Wife by Sigrid Undset
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Jul 26, 2016

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This is the second book of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy. In my review of the The Wreath , the first book of the trilogy, I indicated I didn't feel optimistic about the marriage that took place at the end of the first book. This second book of the trilogy focuses on their married life (about 16 years covered by this book) during which they have seven children. The husband ended up not being as bad as I had feared. Based on fourteenth century expectations he could be rated as a mostly good husband, but certainly not perfect.

As a matter of fact the husband ends up taking some very reckless action near the end of the book that causes him to be placed in prison by the king. He's headed for certain execution which causes Kristin to exert her influence on an old admirer who in turn lobbies people in power to spare his life. These actions by Kristin are something of a turnaround for her because her relationship with her husband had become distant and cold. But when his life was in jeopardy her feelings of loyalty kicked in.

This book is full of many varied characters with differing strengths and weaknesses. The level of detail regarding everyday life is impressive. The description of the delivery of Kristin's first child is about as painful and drawn out as a written description can be. The same can be said for the death of Kristin's father near the end of the book. Thus I credit the author with good writing.

This book is as close one can get to a time machine for a visit to fourteenth century life in Norway. The author received the 1928 Nobel Prize for Literature based largely on Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Sandy (new)

Sandy I appreciate your reviews of the first two books of the trilogy, Clif. I have been hesitating to tackle this work because I have read some rather negative reviews but I find your comments encouraging. I look forward to reading your review of the third book. I am inching closer to reading the trilogy in 2017, thanks to your positive comments.

Clif Hostetler Sandy wrote: "... I look forward to reading your review of the third book...."

Thanks for letting me know about your interest. Great Books KC is reading the trilogy over the three months of summer. Our final meeting is August 26, 2016. I'll ask the group to vote on whether to recommend this book to others such as you. I'll let you know what they say.

message 3: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Thanks very much, Clif. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

message 4: by Clif (last edited Aug 27, 2016 02:07PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Clif Hostetler Sandy wrote: "Thanks very much, Clif. I'll look forward to hearing from you."

As promised to Sandy, I asked the group whether they recommend that she read the Kristin Lavransdatter triology. The answers are written up at the following link:

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