I bought this book awhile ago. Probably before the FTC needs to know about it. But I’m all about covering my butt.
At the risk of sounding like a horrible awful person, I’ll admit that I was looking forward to The Cross. Going into Kristin Lavransdatter you know that it is Kristin’s life story and that she dies at the end. And her death means the end of the book. I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to that. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so happy that a fictional character died. See, I told you that I’m a horrible awful person.
So what happened to make me anticipate Kristin’s death? I started out enjoying Kristin Lavransdatter. Why did I want so badly for her to die? Well, 1100 plus pages of angst and whining happened. This book could have EASILY been 500 pages (and 5 kids) shorter. Trust me, nothing would have been lost.
Oh wait. The Cross. Book 3. I forgot to tell you what happens. Except it’s been awhile, so I’ve kinda forgotten the details. I do remember that Kristin got herself to a nunnery. The plague hit. Kristin had a heroic moment. The end.
Back to my overall impressions.
While certainly not the worst book I’ve ever read (Too Much Tuscan Sun and Foolhold that honor), I stand by my earlier statement that this book needed some brutal editing. Undset liked sweeping sagas, but this one lacked continuous originality (to totally make up a phrase). Instead, you get lather, rinse, repeat. Kristin has a son, she gets all moody and pissy at Erlend, it happens all over again. I swear that felt like 500 pages of filler.
If you are thinking about reading this (although we’ve probably scared you off), I highly recommend a read-along (and many thanks to Richard of Caravana de Recuerdos and Emily of Evening All Afternoon for organizing this one!). It helps to have the emotional support, and it’s nice to have fellow readers to pick up the slack and write reviews that actual contain thought and content.