I can’t believe you haven’t read KRISTEN LAVRANSDATTER

A few reasons why it’s so great (just scratching the surface!).

If, by chance, you decide to buy the book, I’d appreciate it if you would go through this rather unsightly link:

The Bridal Wreath (Kristin Lavransdatter I)

so I will earn a percentage of the sale.  I chose this one because I like the picture on the cover — she looks just like my friend Kristin from high school, except sadder and more medieval.  You’ll see that there are also many editions of the newer translation, which I have not read yet.   (If you click through the above link and eventually buy a different product, I still get credit!)  Thanks!



  1. Must be re-read every three years or so. I actually prefer “The Master of Hestviken” series. You should link up to that, too!

  2. We just ordered from Amazon 3 times. If I would have know that you could even get a cut, I would have done it via some chop

  3. My mother keeps on telling me to read it, but she told me about all the tragedy involved and now I can’t bring myself to.

  4. Simcha, for Dostoevsky always stick with Constance Garnett for English versions. I have tried them all, and she is the best. Same for her Dumas and Tolstoy versions.

  5. Oh my gosh, LOVE the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy!!! Ack! So happy you are plugging it (I have done so, too, in the past). Best books ever! I like the newer translation, by Tiina Nunnally, but that is because my brain needs less flowery language. I am old.

  6. My wife and I are both big fans of the trilogy – an interesting book to read and discuss as husband and wife, to be sure. But the translation by Tiina Nunnally is really so much better – perhaps even more important than the cover art. Among other things, the older translation and version cuts out a few parts.

    • Oh, please tell your wife how much I appreciated her appreciation. I was just about to look for the link on First Things to post it here when I saw your comment. I have recommended her piece to many other lovers of this book.

  7. Love it, love it, love it (and not just because my name is Kristen). And you really should check out the Nunnally version.

  8. I loved the new translation of Kristin Lavransdatter, and highly recommend it. Have you read Gunnar’s Daughter? I read it in two sittings, and that was with a nursing baby. Obviously some sleep was sacrificed.

  9. This is a really, really good book. Really really really. And it does have a happy ending, although probably you’d have to be Catholic to see that. I love how Undset captured the stubborn, wilful idiocy of a teenaged girl who is basically intelligent, virtuous, and really too good to behave as badly as she does. I wish I understood that mysterious bit at the very beginning about the elf woman that young Kristen sees, though — I found that very odd in a wholly realistic novel

  10. As a norwegian reader, I am so happy that you have found this book. I love it too! I have read all her books, but my favorite is called: “Gymnadenia”. The book is written in the time period when Undset found the catholic faith, and the characters in the book are also contemplating the big and important questions in life.

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