Monday 1 May 2023

Book Review: Olav Audunsson IV: Winter by Sigrid Undset (Historical Fiction)

Title: Olav Audunsson IV: Winter
Author: Sigrid Undset
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication Date: 24 October 2023
Pages: 352
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

The fourth and final volume in the Nobel Prize–winning writer’s epic of one man’s fateful life in medieval Norway   Set in thirteenth-century Norway, a land racked by political turmoil, bloody family vendettas, and rising tensions between secular powers and an ascendant church, Sigrid Undset’s spellbinding masterpiece now follows the fortunes of Olav Audunss√łn to the final, dramatic chapter of his life as it unfolds in Winter, the last volume of the tetralogy. When the orphaned Olav and his foster sister Ingunn became betrothed in their youth, a chain of events was set in motion that eventually led to violence, banishment, and a family separation lasting years. The consequences fracture their marriage and threaten the lineage for generations. Now, at the end of his life, Olav continues to grapple with the guilt of his sins as he watches his children, especially Eirik, make disastrous choices and struggle to find their rightful place in a family haunted by the past.   With its precise details and sweeping vision, Olav Audunss√łn summons a powerful picture of Northern life in medieval times, as noted by the Swedish Academy in awarding Undset the Nobel Prize in 1928. 


While I had enjoyed the first book in this series, books two and three hadn't gripped me quite so much, but luckily the final book, Olav Audunsson IV: Winter, recaptured my interest once more. I thought this was a great finale to the work as a whole and everything felt well wrapped up by the end. I would still say that I prefer Undset's other major work, Kristin Lavransdatter, but Olav Audunsson is, nevertheless, an enjoyable read if you are looking for medieval period historical fiction. The characters and story are memorable and the prose easy reading and yet descriptive. It gets 4 stars from me.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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