This trilogy follows the life of Kristin Lavransdatter, a Norwegian woman living in the 14th century. Kristin grows up in Sil in Gudbrandsdalen, the daughter of a well-respected and affluent farmer. She is head strong and stubborn and slowly throughout her life solidifies her faith despite hardship and despair.
I had no idea what to expect when I began this trilogy. Undset won the Noble Prize in 1928 for this series, so as I grabbed a glass of port and wrapped myself in a woolen blanket I gave a toast to Sigrid and began.
Krisitn is truly one of the most stubborn heroines I've come across in literature, and yet unlike Undine Spragg the heroine of the Custom of the Country, there is a lot of divine retribution and justice. So much so that it is at times heartbreaking. While Undine ran around breaking hearts and buying dresses, Kristin's only vice is Erlend, who she gives her heart and soul to despite her family's wishes. She is faithful in her love for Erlend, risking everything for him and for a moment it seems like everything is going to work out. And then there are another 900 pages in which slowly things unravel and she is tried and tested and despite remaining true and faithful one is forced to wonder if her life serves as a metaphor on why we should listen to our parents.
I know very little about Medieval culture but this book makes me want to study and research this fascinating epoch in history. I want to sit at the large tables in the hall filled with food and watch the men and women paw through there food looking for the choicest morsels. I want to smell the fragrances of the straw and hay in the bedding mix with the beef stews while feeling the fire from the hearth on my back. I want to stand on a hill and survey the land while I ofter a prayer to the gods that my children will live and our harvest will be abundant.