Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson

181086 I had mixed feelings about reading this as I felt the trope is somewhat overdone, the whole “older damaged woman and younger damaged woman find each other and together they heal” has been seen in many novels and films and I wasn’t sure if I was interested in seeing it again.  I am really interested in books set in Sweden though and it is relatively short so I put aside my misgivings and gave it a try.

Astrid is the older  character here, living alone on her family farm, the villagers basically ignoring her in her old age, other than to refer to her as a witch.  Veronika is the younger woman, returning to Sweden after a life spent traveling abroad first with her father a diplomat and then as a young woman.  The women bond over their isolation and slowly over the course of the book, in alternating chapters they reveal the secrets and tragedies of their lives.

The writing is well done, the women’s stories are interesting and engaging, although I will say I think Astrid’s is much more compelling than Veronika’s.  There are some interesting parallels set up, both are abandoned by their mothers, and some contrasts for instance, one has a good father and one does not.   I just feel that the “sisterhood of damaged women” is an overdone trope and that there could have been a more interesting story here.

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