Kristin Lavransdatter: the mistress of Husaby

Undset, Sigrid. Kristin Lavransdatter: the Mistress of Husaby. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1939.

This is part two of the saga of Kristin Lavransdatter. As with part one I feel I am missing something with part two. I still wish I had the newer translation to refer to. Oh well.

But, wishing is the theme for part two. Kristin has now learned to be careful of what she wishes for. When we pick up the story in The Mistress of Husaby or The Wife (depending on your translation), Kristin is fat with pregnancy and miserable. She spends a fair amount of her time crying and daydreaming about how life would be back home. Her imagination fills in the gaps of what her mother would be doing or her father would be saying at that exact moment. Meanwhile Kristin’s relationship with Erlend is not the carefree wine and roses marriage she imagined it would be. Erlend is careless with his property and political actions and while Kristin’s opinion of him changes he never loses his passion for her. They are a couple out of balance. They go on to have several more children, though. In an ironic twist, Simon, Kristin’s former fiance marries Kristin’s 14 year old sister but gets Erlend out of politically trouble because he still loves Kristin.
It is in this section of the story that the relationship of Kristin’s parents receives more attention.

Favorite line: The advice given to Erlend. “But I will pray to St. Olav to cleave me in two halves with his axe the day I see you stand upon those long legs of yours, look man or woman straight in the face, and answer for the mischief you have wrought in your light-mindedness” (p 312). How many people have wanted to say that to his or her wayward friend?

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Digging Up the Past Through Fiction” (p 79) and from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Norway: The Land of the Midnight Sun” (p 162). PS~ I know I mentioned the twist in the review for part one but it made sense to say it again. Look for it in part three as well.



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