Snares and Delusions (The Triptych) Paperback – October 10, 2017
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"Layla" by Colleen Hoover
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love. | Learn more
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- Publisher : Independently published (October 10, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 330 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1549844032
- ISBN-13 : 978-1549844034
- Item Weight : 1.25 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.83 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #13,699,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Whereas the reader first gets a glimpse of Hedda’s tenacity on the brink of death, rocking back and forth on the floor of a hospital in Copenhagen in 1936, her dreamlike delusions bring us to the beginning of her trials and tribulations.
Born in May of 1865, Hedda’s childhood and adolescence may very well have been the best years of her life, despite an ill-fated love. Then, there’s her sister and father contemplating the monetary gains of marrying her off to a boorish simpleton.
Through twists of fate, bouts of homelessness, marriage to an abusive husband with congenital syphilis who is of the prevailing opinion of the times that women have a soul but no intelligence—she perseveres. Carrying and caring for a child born out of wedlock to a married man, she makes her way in the world yet again.
The story is told impeccably: well-written, infused with history and its impact, period dialogue, and finely-drawn characters—especially Hedda.
Apropos for the last scene in the novel, Hedda makes her way toward the beach. She finds a spot and rocks back and forth, contemplating her life of snares and delusions, grateful for surviving the tides against her.
I highly recommend this literary masterpiece which, for this reader, elicited more tears than smiles.
The heroine of “Snares and Delusions” is Hedda Gullberg (later West), who we initially meet as she breathes her last in a 1936 Copenhagen hospital. Her story rewinds to the time of her early adolescence when she’s treated as second rate due to the order of her birth. She soon discovers her father and sister’s plot for an arranged marriage for her to a well-to-do dullard. Hedda flees her family and all she knows...and this is but a taste of the trials and tribulations she must face in the years ahead. Life was not easy for a single woman on her own in this time and place. A true survivor, Hedda is by turns deserted, dejected, and destitute. She suffers beatings and emotional abuse, yet somehow rises above it all. I found myself cheering her on, reveling in her successes and miserable during her set-backs. This is the mark of phenomenal character development—when a character leaps from the page and takes up residence in the reader’s subconscious.
I do not hesitate to award 5 stars to this well written and engaging tale. Kudos to the author, H.M. Holten. Well done!
Her journey is full of trials and tribulations in this harsh time and country, for women in the late nineteenth century.
Beaten and harshly treated, Hedda shows amazing strength and courage to remain unbowed. Her independent spirit allows her to keep her head above all what life has thrown at her.
Hanne Holten draws inspiration from her own family history and upbringing to give this wonderful tale a true sense of realism.
This is a definite five ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read that I recommend highly to all lovers of this genre.
Hedda Gullberg is a survivor. Not a burned out anti-heroine indifferent to pain, whether hers or another’s. Nor a supergirl able to throw groping men over her shoulder. She is a bright young thing (plays the harmonium, can sew lace) with one super-power: the gift of forthrightness. She sees things are they are, and does not work to pretend she sees anything else. And early on she sees: the path her family pushes her down is destruction. Later she will come to see that the path all women in the 19th century are pushed down is destruction. But Hedda has a flame of defiance that gives her the strength to march the other way. Or run, when need be.
On occasion her sight gives her strange visions; of life through other eyes, of magical folk, of secrets beyond this world. Interesting; but she has no time for magical visions. And they matter little to the story. They are mere side-effect to the clarity with which she sees THIS world, the real world. To hell with seeing elves; the importance of her sight is in seeing that a ‘match’ everyone says will make her rich, is fairy glamour cast over a pig.
‘Snares and Delusions’ – the world is full of them. H. M. Holton gives us the life of someone who sees past these tricks, and so saves herself. Not by absurd destiny, not by krypton muscles, but by shear honesty and determination. Hedda doesn’t lie to herself about what she sees, what she feels. And so we are present with that dying woman, seeing her life as she saw it. All the snares, all the delusions of love and greed, small-mindedness and life lived lukewarm. And all the things that most mattered. Ordinary things of keeping a house, aiding strangers, raising a child, knowing the value of love and friendship.
Holten calls it ‘Snares and Delusions’; but it isn’t all dark vision. Hedda in her final bed, is seeing light and joy as well. There would be no point to avoiding the traps, unless there were some goal to be reached.
This is a book that kept surprising me.
Top reviews from other countries
But this resolute old lady has a story to tell: a tale of love, hate and banishment in an era of disparity and extreme hardship.
From the safety of our armchairs, we are then transported to late-nineteenth-century Sweden, where Hedda Gullberg, the youngest daughter of an impoverished miller, faces a life of servitude and is treated as a chattel by her uncaring family. Theirs is a pastoral, but far from bucolic, existence and the covetous miller would like nothing more than to marry his daughters off to anyone with a higher social status than his own. At first, I wondered if the story would morph into a Pride and Prejudice-meets-Cinderella saga, but was very soon proved wrong.
It became clear that author H M Holten has little time for pandering to unrealistic ideals in the pink velvet confines of a fairy tale. This instead is a praiseworthy saga that sees our heroine having to face up to the harsh realities of life. I was invested in Hedda’s rebellious character from the get-go and wanted nothing but the best for her as she struggled through long periods of adversity.
The story is well-written and well-paced. Holten capably transports us to another time and place and paints a vivid picture with some wonderful descriptive imagery.
Hedda strives to be a free spirit but time and time again she is caught in snares that number social injustice, misogyny, duplicitousness, and narrow-mindedness.
Watch out for the imperious Miss Dalquist – the Cruella de Vil of the piece: a woman so condescending and high-handed to everyone she encounters that I actually looked forward to seeing her! As an inveterate people-watcher, I slow my pace, or stop what I’m doing, whenever someone like her storms into a hotel lobby!
This wonderful story also has something of a folkloric feel to it. Mrs West’s fevered delusions sometimes lead her into the safe harbour of a magical otherworld where elves and fairies dance in the moonlight, sparks flying from their hair as they do so.
A terrific read from start to finish!
Beautiful, headstrong, wilful Hedda, growing up in rural Sweden is a disappointment to her father and sister Minna, who consider her to be a burden. They make arrangements for Hedda to be married off and thus absolving them of the drain on their finances; only things don’t go according to plan.
Without a second thought, Hedda steps up to care for her father. She effortlessly takes charge of organising the home as well as run the family business - until Minna returns with her betrothed in tow. The pair are determined to take up the reigns and thus poor Hedda is resigned to the fact that her arranged union is back on. Only this time, however, she manages to make her escape.
This is an incredible tale of strength, courage and love that is beautifully written. Five stars? I’d give it ten! Read it for yourself.
We first meet the protagonist, Hedda, as she lies on her deathbed in a Copenhagen hospital in 1936, many years after the story ends. As the old lady drifts into a pain-relieving, drug-induced sleep, memories of her journey through life return…
Hedda is a great character: a pretty, intelligent and headstrong young girl in the opening stages of the story, with a habit of being outspoken that often gets her into trouble. She also has the ability to ‘see’ things through visions and disturbing nightmares – some of them involving elves and the magical world. Suddenly finding herself facing a future in which her uncaring and self-centred father forces her to marry a particularly unintelligent and unattractive man, Hedda inwardly rebels, knowing herself to be capable of doing much better in life. Despite not knowing how she’ll survive on her own, with no work to provide money to keep herself and nowhere to live, she eventually manages to flee.
From then on Hedda’s journey is a mix of highs and lows as she meets good people who help her on her way, as well as others who cause her misfortune and further hardship. It is a character-building journey and Hedda learns much about people and how to better herself in life without allowing others to make decisions for her. It is truly a tale of the snares and delusions that Hedda must face and overcome.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. There is a cast of colourful and memorable characters, with some to love and some to hate, and the author has a refreshingly unique writing style. Most scenes play out primarily through dialogue in the ‘show don’t tell’ style I love, and I was drawn into each as though I was actually there. I would recommend the book to lovers of historical fiction, but also to anyone who enjoys a great story with a strong and resourceful female protagonist.
At first, I was transported to the pastoral setting of nineteenth century Sweden and travelled along the trajectory of Hedda’s challenging life. There were powerful, fast paced scenes, though I admit some rather harrowing scenes in the middle of the novel. I felt compelled to discover if Hedda would survive. She guided me with her determined spirit.
Events were haunting and did indeed twisted into my own nightmares. Hedda’s resilience impressed me. Her life experience nurtured her empathy and guided her to support others in need. I shocked myself when I wanted some of the cruel characters to disappear.
I admired Hedda and would have loved to have engaged with more of her thoughts. Having discovered the author is an opera singer, I mused how this novel would make an excellent, dramatic opera. I can hear the haunting, powerful music that would represent that place between life and death.