The Snake Pit by Sigrid Undset (The Master of Hestviken)

Olav Audunsson finally brings Ingunn Steinfinnsdatter back to his ancestral home as his wife, each harboring a dark secret that threatens the happiness they dreamed of as children.

The Snake Pit follows closely on the tragic events of The Axe, focusing on the far-reaching effects of sin in the lives of Olav and his childhood love Ingunn, now his wife.

I really don’t want to give too much away about the story thus far, because I loved how it unfolded in the previous book, and that makes it hard to write a comprehensive review. But as in the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, Undset excels in showing how sin and unrepentance isolate the sinner from community, even the intimate community of marriage. She also shows the interconnectedness of deceit and grasping ambition with a psychological and theological complexity that you just don’t find very often.

I am loving this series, though I haven’t connected with any of the characters the way I did with my beloved Kristin. I’m okay with that–particularly as we get a nice cameo from Kristin’s father Lavrans and mother Ragnfrid near the end of the book!

3 thoughts on “The Snake Pit by Sigrid Undset (The Master of Hestviken)”

  1. I just read this and agree with your analysis.. love the cameo of Lavrans and Ragnfrid at the end… so interesting to get a glimpse of their life before Kristin too!

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