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Swedish for Beginners

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When her father dies, Maud learns that her mother, the beautiful Eleonore, whom she had never known, was from Sweden. She travels to Stockholm to meet her Swedish family and discovers both a new country and a mysterious past. Maud also learns that Lukas, the handsome older man she meets, was deeply in love with Eleonore in his youth. Mauds attraction to him is marred as When her father dies, Maud learns that her mother, the beautiful Eleonore, whom she had never known, was from Sweden. She travels to Stockholm to meet her Swedish family and discovers both a new country and a mysterious past. Maud also learns that Lukas, the handsome older man she meets, was deeply in love with Eleonore in his youth. Maud’s attraction to him is marred as details of Eleonore’s past emerge from family letters. The story that is revealed, that of a rebellious and somewhat immoral young woman, shatters Maud’s fantasy of the fairytale princess she had always believed her mother to be. Only when Maud reads her mother’s final letter does she learn the truth about her own parentage, and Lukas. Set in Stockholm, its beautiful archipelago and Australia


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When her father dies, Maud learns that her mother, the beautiful Eleonore, whom she had never known, was from Sweden. She travels to Stockholm to meet her Swedish family and discovers both a new country and a mysterious past. Maud also learns that Lukas, the handsome older man she meets, was deeply in love with Eleonore in his youth. Mauds attraction to him is marred as When her father dies, Maud learns that her mother, the beautiful Eleonore, whom she had never known, was from Sweden. She travels to Stockholm to meet her Swedish family and discovers both a new country and a mysterious past. Maud also learns that Lukas, the handsome older man she meets, was deeply in love with Eleonore in his youth. Maud’s attraction to him is marred as details of Eleonore’s past emerge from family letters. The story that is revealed, that of a rebellious and somewhat immoral young woman, shatters Maud’s fantasy of the fairytale princess she had always believed her mother to be. Only when Maud reads her mother’s final letter does she learn the truth about her own parentage, and Lukas. Set in Stockholm, its beautiful archipelago and Australia

30 review for Swedish for Beginners

  1. 4 out of 5

    Heikki

    Scandinavian books are hot at the moment. If you go for twisted thrillers, darker-than-dark novels of crime,you're in your heaven right now. However, there's another kind of Scandinavian literature you should look at. It's that one heralded by Susanne O'Leary, whose crisply written, definitely feminine books have taken the e-publishing by storm of late. Swedish for beginners is the best one to start when you want to get to know her books. The story of Maud in search of her past, and that of her Scandinavian books are hot at the moment. If you go for twisted thrillers, darker-than-dark novels of crime,you're in your heaven right now. However, there's another kind of Scandinavian literature you should look at. It's that one heralded by Susanne O'Leary, whose crisply written, definitely feminine books have taken the e-publishing by storm of late. Swedish for beginners is the best one to start when you want to get to know her books. The story of Maud in search of her past, and that of her family's, will fill you with a longing to see the places for yourself. Susanne's writing is fluent and eloquent, and the twists of the story will keep you entertained up until the very end. My personal favorite is the delightful way the story of Maud and Lukas unfolds. It takes a very good author to disclose just the right amount of information and know what to witthold until later, and Susanne O'Leary does that without fail. You will be saddened, amazed, and gladdened by the way it all plays out. If you like your books well written, entertaining, thought-provoking, this is for you, but don't buy it if you are into bleak underworld stories. This is not one of them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    JoAnne

    I really enjoyed this story. I have never read this author before and I liked the writing. Will read another book by her again!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ceinwenn

    On the morning of April 25th I left my house at the crack of dawn to travel by bus, then train to Cornwall, for a job interview. I didn't get the job, but I did get to read this fab book! If you have never been stupid lucky enough to take the bus from the Midlands to London, then the train to Cornwall - don't! The only good thing was it was an early journey & gave me enough time to read just about an entire book. Book description: "When her Father dies, Maud learns that her mother, the On the morning of April 25th I left my house at the crack of dawn to travel by bus, then train to Cornwall, for a job interview. I didn't get the job, but I did get to read this fab book! If you have never been stupid lucky enough to take the bus from the Midlands to London, then the train to Cornwall - don't! The only good thing was it was an early journey & gave me enough time to read just about an entire book. Book description: "When her Father dies, Maud learns that her mother, the beautiful Eleonore, whom she had never known, was from Sweden. She travels to Stockholm to meet her Swedish family and discovers both a new country and a mysterious past. Maud also learns that Lukas, the handsome older man she meets, was deeply in love with Eleonore in his youth. Maud's attraction to him is marred as details of Eleonore's past emerge from family letters. The story that is revealed, of a rebellious and somewhat immoral young woman, shatters Maud's fantasy of the fairytale princess she had always believed her mother to be. Only when Maud reads her mother's final letter does she learn the truth about her own parentage and Lukas." Let me start by saying that I loved Swedish for Beginners! In no small part that is because of the location, but also because it is genuinely a really good book. Swedish for Beginners is set in Dublin, then Stockholm & for me it was a joy to read about a place (Stockholm) that I know (and love) so well. In my mind, I was there, I was part of the family, as a silent observer, taking part in the crayfish party, drinking the aquavit & raising a toast to friends & family - Skål. Now, that said, is it possible to love a book, but hate (& I do mean hate) all of the main characters in said book? I disliked Maud from the very start - she just came across as a complete brat when speaking to/about her step-mother. I appreciate that she's in mourning for her father, but so is Kathleen, her step-mother. Barbara, Maud's cousin, is self-centred, bossy & I just wanted to slap her at least 1/2 of the time. Then there's Lukas. Well..... I think Lukas is every mother's worst nightmare. He's narcissistic, violent, emotionally stunted & just plain full of himself. Luckily, O'Leary writes a good book in spite of her characters. Swedish for Beginners sees us following a journey of realisation for Maud. She starts out as a spoiled, self-centred mouse of a woman who has a life, but isn't really living, but through the course of the book she grows (although not always for the better). After her father dies, and she has one last fall-out with her step-mother, she begins the search for her past, for answers to what makes her who she is. Maud's mother died when she was only a small child & her father refused to discuss her, even with Maud; completely wiping Eleonore's existence from their lives. Maud receives a box of stuff from her father's attic, which leads her to a part of her heritage she had no idea even existed - Sweden. She travels to Stockholm where she stays with her bossy & not very likeable (at least to me) cousin, Barbara. Barbara introduces her to her family, to her grandmother, uncles & cousins, second cousins & her pseudo-uncle, Lukas, the narcissistic ego maniac actor, as well as to Stockholm - to its history, its beauty, its culture. Maud's grandmother, Julia, gives her a bunch of letters that Eleonore had written to her childhood friend, while living in Australia. Maud decides to have them translated into English, hoping that they will provide clues to who her mother was & thereby help her understand who she is. Before long she's wrapped up in both the letters & in a chaotic, consuming & troubling relationship with Lukas, much to the disgust of Barbara (for once, I agree with Barbara!). Lukas was raised by Maud's family, but is not a blood relation & Maud is captivated (before she even meets him, in fact) with him, even though she suspects he is just using her to get some kind of posthumous revenge on her mother. Will she find what she is looking for? Will she get the answers she had been hoping for, or will the truth be best left hidden & unspoken? Will Maud wake up & realise that Lukas will never change, that he will always be on the edge of violence, on the edge of a breakdown? Now, I hope I haven't put anyone off Swedish for Beginners - it truly is a lovely book & it's my dislike of the characters that makes it so real, makes me have such a vested interest in the outcome. Some of the things that I absolutely loved about Swedish for Beginners were the description of Stockholm - from Maud's arrival at Skavsta airport (been there), to the descriptions of Gamla Stan, the archipelago, Djurgården & the rest of Stockholm - all places I have been & I saw in my mind as I read. Then there's the names of the characters. In my head I said them the Swedish way; for instance, Julia was "You"lia, not Julia with a hard J. Swedish for Beginners took me back to a place I love & hold dear & while that alone could not have made it a good book, to me, it sure didn't hurt!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Imogen Rose

    The sudden loss of her father signals the start of a journey of self-discovery for Maud, a 30-year-old woman from Ireland. She discovers her Swedish roots, when she realized that her mother, who passed when Maud was only four, was from Stockholm. Maud travels to Sweden to meet with the extended Swedish family that has been kept secret from her all these years by her father. Susanne OLeary unravels Mauds journey in a captivating way, with the reader immediately drawn into Maud. One feels her The sudden loss of her father signals the start of a journey of self-discovery for Maud, a 30-year-old woman from Ireland. She discovers her Swedish roots, when she realized that her mother, who passed when Maud was only four, was from Stockholm. Maud travels to Sweden to meet with the extended Swedish family that has been kept secret from her all these years by her father. Susanne O’Leary unravels Maud’s journey in a captivating way, with the reader immediately drawn into Maud. One feels her loneliness and struggles as she tries to deal with her new heritage and her new relationships. O’Leary’s characters are fascinating and well fleshed. On a personal note, I was very touched by this story on several levels. I related to Eleonore (Maud’s mother), in how she had uprooted from her family and moved to a new country, and also with Maud and her coming to terms with her mother’s death and trying to getting to know her posthumously. I would highly recommend this charming story to anyone who enjoys a light, relaxing read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Al

    Imagine, if you can, growing up never having known your mother. Your father is tight-lipped and tells you only that she died when you were a toddler. When dad dies, leaving little family except a stepmother you never got along with, you feel unmoored - like you have no roots. Then going through dads old boxes you find a clue that helps you connect with your mothers family and also, in a way, with your long-gone mother. Swedish for Beginners is both a light mystery and an exploration of roots. Imagine, if you can, growing up never having known your mother. Your father is tight-lipped and tells you only that she died when you were a toddler. When dad dies, leaving little family except a stepmother you never got along with, you feel unmoored - like you have no roots. Then going through dad’s old boxes you find a clue that helps you connect with your mother’s family and also, in a way, with your long-gone mother. “Swedish for Beginners” is both a light mystery and an exploration of roots. What makes a family? Is it nature (ties through blood) or nurture (the people that were always there for you). Maybe the answer is a little of both.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Kramer

    Despite wanting to grab the heroine occasionally and shake her (I'm not a big fan of 'challenging' men), I enjoyed this book greatly. The family interactions and the Swedish culture kept me reading long after my bedtime. I found the family secrets quite easy to pick up long before the heroine, hence some of the desire to shake her - *grin* but I didn't find myself getting bored as a result. I wanted to see how everything would pan out in the end. If you're a fan of family-drama type books, Despite wanting to grab the heroine occasionally and shake her (I'm not a big fan of 'challenging' men), I enjoyed this book greatly. The family interactions and the Swedish culture kept me reading long after my bedtime. I found the family secrets quite easy to pick up long before the heroine, hence some of the desire to shake her - *grin* but I didn't find myself getting bored as a result. I wanted to see how everything would pan out in the end. If you're a fan of family-drama type books, romances or foreign-country-based fiction, this might just be right up your alley.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Housley

    Not Bad for a chic-lit but could use some serious proof reading and a bit of editing especially in the first few chapters. Far to much empty dialogue. It did improve though and even though most of the characters were pretty nasty under stress I did enjoy it

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Fine for a free KIndle book, and fulfilled my chick-lit cravings well enough, but not exactly an Important Read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    a finding my roots story

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    I was into this book at first but then I just lost interest.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    kindle 409

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bharathi

    Interesting analysis of Swedish society

  13. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    Definitely light beach reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susan Bennett

  15. 5 out of 5

    Helen Newton

  16. 5 out of 5

    Renee

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Crismon

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bluejay44

  19. 5 out of 5

    Roger Zarzycki

  20. 5 out of 5

    richard s shelman

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melissa M Weldon

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  23. 5 out of 5

    Debo

  24. 4 out of 5

    Thomas A. Barrett, Jr.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

  26. 4 out of 5

    Debi

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paul Patin

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mildred Bromberg

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