by Birgitta Hjalmarson,
(2018, Bedazzled Ink)
The First World War rages on the continent. Hidden in the forest of Sweden, a country church gleams in the sun. Anna, a young woman, sits in the front pew. The vicar pauses to wipe his brow. “Think what harm will come to your children if your marriages begin in sin.”
After the sermon, Anna hurries away, black-clad, winding in and out among the pines. Banks run steep into a lake, and the cry of an osprey pierces the air. Fredrik, her lover, waits in a deserted cabin, his jacket slung over a wooden chair.
“How did she find her way when the map she followed was flawed?”
Sixty years later, Anna gives refuge to a young niece, whose marriage is falling apart. Fredrik is long since dead. She still blames him for the death of their child, yet she misses his scent that would linger on her skin, like the moon that shone on the snow and colored it blue.
Each day she visits the child’s grave, an old woman in a tweed beret, her back no longer as straight. Time after time her thoughts return to the past, when she refused to accept the age-old beliefs the village stood for. Was she wrong to break the rules? How did she go on living when all seemed lost? How did she find her way when the map she followed was flawed?
“Think what harm will come to your children if your marriages begin in sin.”
by Birgitta Hjalmarson
Journal by Birgitta Hjalmarson In August of 1904, the University of Lund gave its first summer lecture. The topic was whether or not the Germanic tribes had originated in Skåne, the southernmost province of Sweden, where Lund had been founded about 990, the university...
Chapter One Excerpt I STILL GO to the grave. My younger self runs ahead. I follow, cutting through the forest and staying away from the country road. An old woman in a beret and a tweed jacket. Anemones cover the graveyard in the spring. Songbirds nest in the church...
Journal by Birgitta HjalmarsonThe castle in Stockholm was cold. Descartes had died here in 1650, supposedly freezing to death. Queen Kristina, whom he had come to tutor, would abdicate and flee to Rome. In 1891, when Victoria arrived from her native Germany, the old...