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By Sigrid Undset
Madame Dorthea, a powerful period piece set in eighteenth-century Norway, follows the title character as her happiness and security is thrown into disarray by a sudden and unforeseeable tragedy. With her final novel, Undset produces vivid tableaus of the social mores and practices of the time, as well as of the untamed grandeur of her native landscapes, before which unfolds a frank portrayal of the human experience in all its baseness and beauty.
With her, happiness had become an ingrained habit… She now thought she had borne happiness in her heart, sweetly and securely encased in her manifold wifely duties. Not without mortal pain could it be torn out of her being.
Sigrid Undset (1882–1949) was a Norwegian novelist and essayist and a convert to Catholicism. Her work is renowned for its realism and poignancy, and she is best known for her three-volume novel Kristin Lavransdatter. In 1928, Undset was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.