The plot, more of which I will not reveal, emerges naturally, intricately and inevitably from the makeup of the characters’ souls, especially Ingunn’s, which deepens throughout. As she did so powerfully in Kristin Lavransdatter, Undset matches the precision and force of her characters’ inner lives — lacerated by indecision, sunk in sorrow or transported by joy — with her evocation of a vanished age and depictions of the life-affirming beauty of nature ... This is a novel you wish would never end — and it doesn’t, not yet: The following volumes will be appearing over the next three years.
Modern readers may chafe at the characterization of Ingunn as weak and 'in need of the protection and support of men,' but Undset brings the setting to life with rich descriptions of the natural world, well-captured in Nunnally’s stunning translation. Those interested in Norse history will appreciate this modern classic of Norwegian literature.