Bell in the Lake, The

Mytting, Lars

  25 Reviews

Astrid Hekne is a woman ahead of her time. The twenty-year-old yearns for more than the life destined for her in the isolated Norwegian village of Butangen. Potential deliverance arrives in the form of an ambitious young pastor Kai Schweigaard, as well as Gerhard Schonauer, the German architecture student Kai engages to assist with his plans for replacing the local stave church.

But in 1880s Norway, superstition and old beliefs are not easily dismissed and the church's mystical Sister Bells must be given credence.

Based on real people and local legends, this is a lyrical and atmospheric story pitting the old ways against the new.



AKAR 004
The majority of our group really enjoyed this novel, its richness of characters, and settings beautifully drawn. A small number were unable to get fully involved in it.
NAP 011
Thoroughly enjoyed by nearly everyone. Fascinating, descriptive historical writing with characters brought to life by the author. Many are excited about reading the full trilogy.
A lively conversation! A very bleak story, but saved with beautiful writing and strong characters.
On the whole the book was enjoyed by most. Some struggled with the Norwegian names.
AUCK 381
50% - 50% on this one. Most felt the end was too rushed. All were obsessed with the twins, bells and staves - particularly the rich history.
WELL 041
This book was simply beautiful and a story written with great care, and we all gave it 5 stars. All the characters were skilfully shaped and the history of the stave churches carefully related. The love story was so tender and rang true, with superstition woven in. A beautiful translation from the Norwegian to English. A stunning book. We are eagerly awaiting the rest of the trilogy.
AUCK 014
Quite a divided response from 'excellent' to 'wouldn't recommend', though in the end it scored better than the discussion would have suggested. There was no escaping the cold and gloom, but the history of Norwegian culture and growing impact of change in the late 19th century was really interesting for most of the group. The lyrical narrative was cleverly translated and the story was a good vehicle to describe those changes.
Amazing descriptions of the cold, the characters, and the folklore the villagers still cling to. Led to a discussion about suicides where it is dark for so long in winter.
AUCK 293
Interesting. Loved the history, the culture, and the endurance of the people. Also learning about the construction and destruction of stave churches.
CHCH 009
All the group very much enjoyed this book. The quality of the translation was fantastic and we all want to read the next in the series.
RAUM 001
Some loved it while some didn't think much of it at all, so it provoked a lively discussion. Interesting historical description of ancient churches; and the cold and hunger were palpable.
NELS 031
Some people in our group found this book difficult to get into. Two of us have travelled to Norway and have connections to the country, and we loved it.
TAUR 005
Instructive regarding Norway - absorbing plot. We were engaged in the story. An excellent novel well translated.
AUCK 038
Wonderful read - looking forward to the sequel!
CHCH 001
A well-written account covering history and folk lore along with credible characters - informative and enjoyable.
WELL 007
Interesting discussion on reading the book. One member had her own photographs of a stave church and we discussed the influence on the community surrounding it in the book. It was fascinating to see how important the huge staves were to the shape of the church, the narrow portals and carvings. Further discussion from the searching questions re the characters, also the structure of the book over 3 stories.
Generated good discussion, most found it a grim depiction of a harsh life. A few googled the history of these amazing churches, the few that are left. We enjoyed the development of the two main characters.
THAM 003
Very mixed response to this book. Half the group loved it and the other half did not finish it.
AUCK 301
Most of us loved it, and could see the whole setting and characters in our mind's eye. We see a sequel, we see a film. I was in awe of the beautiful translation from Norwegian.
WINT 002
Thoroughly enjoyed this story - so interesting about the stave churches and life in the village in Norway. Inspired to go and see the ones that are still standing - so sad. We enjoyed the author's writing.
GISB 012
Our group loved this book. Great characters, fascinating history of stave churches, progress of the times, architecture and Norse folklore. Some of us have already read the sequel in the trilogy, 'The Reindeer Hunter'.
TAUR 043
Some in the group loved the story with the combination of Norse folklore, history, architecture and love story. A few others found it hard to start - bleak background with the 1880s setting and the bleak conditions. Some are keen to read the next book in the trilogy.
We all enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading the next in the trilogy. It was very interesting learning about life in Norway in the 19th century.
TAUR 004
Beautiful prose. Interesting insight into Norwegian history, told through a very engaging story. Wonderful.
3 of us loved it, and found it riveting. The rest found it boring, and couldn't get into it!