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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

The Bell In The Lake
by Lars Mytting
First Lines

image of a woman sat reading by an open window - caption reads 'will these first few lines capture our imagination' - used as the image for Book Beginnings / First Lines, posts


Cover image of the book 'The Bell In The Lake' by author LarsMytting




“The birth was hard. The hardest ever perhaps, and that in a village where many births might compete for that title. The mother was large, but not until the third day of her confinement did they realise she was carrying twins. The details of the delivery, how long the screams reverberated in the log farmhouse, or how the womenfolk actually got the babies out – all this was forgotten. Too ghastly to be told, too ugly to be remembered. The mother tore and bled to death and her name vanished from history. For ever remembered, however, were the twins and their deformity. They were joined from the hip down. But that was all. They breathed, cried, and were lively.

Their parents were from the Hekne farm and the girls were baptised Halfrid and Gunhild Hekne. They grew, laughed a lot, and were never a bother, but a joy. To each other, to their father, to their siblings, to the village. The Hekne twins were put before the loom early, and sat for long days, their four arms flying in perfect time between warp and weft, so swiftly that it was impossible to see who was threading the yarn through their weave at any one moment. The pictures they wove were uniquely beautiful, often mysterious, and soon their weaves were traded for silver and livestock. At that time nobody thought of putting their mark on such craftwork, and later there were many who paid a high price for a hekneweave even when it was uncertain that it was genuine”

Cover image of the book 'The Bell In The Lake' by author LarsMytting

So, you have taken a look, would you read the book?

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Just to give you an extra helping hand, here is the book’s premise.

Image of author Lars Mytting


Cover image of the book 'The Bell In The Lake' by author LarsMyttingAs long as people could remember, the stave church’s bells had rung over the isolated village of Butangen, Norway.

Cast in memory of conjoined twins, the bells are said to ring on their own in times of danger.

In 1879, young pastor Kai Schweigaard moves to the village, where young Astrid Hekne yearns for a modern life. She sees a way out on the arm of the new pastor, who needs a tie to the community to cull favor for his plan for the old stave church, with its pagan deity effigies and supernatural bells.

When the pastor makes a deal that brings an outsider, a sophisticated German architect, into their world, the village and Astrid are caught between past and future, as dark forces come into play.

Translated By Deborah Dawkin

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You might also like to visit Gilion, over at ‘Rose City Reader‘, where you can share links to the book beginnings from her own reading schedule and that of many of our fellow bloggers.

There are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered, and you never know where that next ‘must read’ will come from

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Cath,

      I thought you might like the sound of this one, it really is right up your street!

      For your armchair travel to Norway it would be brilliant and as a work of cultural and historical fiction, it ticks all the boxes.

      The writing is so descriptive and the translation is word perfect.

      Unfortunately the book has now been archived on NetGalley and it is still quite pricey on Amazon for a Kindle download, which is a bit of a shame!

      I can’t recommend this one enough 🙂

    • Hi Lorraine,

      The fleeting first moments with the co-joined Hekne twins, were indeed, the most uplifting of the book, in all reality.

      Their legacy was one of the most contentious issues in the storyline, however that the book is set in such a small, insular and cut-off Norwegian community, is so evident in the cast of characters and the mores, myths and legends by which they live.

      Having said that, this is a lovely story, beautifully written, of historical, cultural and social worth!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a peaceful weekend 🙂

    • Hi Kelly,

      I have to say, this was unlike any book I have read before and I was in two minds about grabbing it, especially as it is a translation.

      I am so pleased that I didn’t pass on it though, as the writing style is excellent and really descriptive, and the translation is pitch perfect.

      The author is a woodsman, so much of the focus is on the ‘stave’ (wooden) church in the village, but it is so much more than that – I just don’t know what else to say!

      My review is scheduled in early December, but I’ll tell you now, it is 5 stars all the way!

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that all is well with you 🙂

Written by Yvonne