The Colonel’s Family

One evening at the end of February 1829 I found myself at Skanstull Gate in a little open sleigh at the height of a dreadful snowstorm, frozen, exhausted, and wishing I were asleep. I had to wait for the statutory visit of the customs inspector before I could enter the Swedish capital. My dear young reader, your sympathetic soul will appreciate that I was in a most unenviable position.

Fredrika Bremer was a nineteenth-century writing sensation, her bestselling novels and travel books instantly translated into a range of other European languages. This early work shows she was never afraid to abandon the prevailing conventions of insipid romantic fiction to explore the social and moral problems facing women. This novel also has one of the most interesting narrators one could wish to meet: the plain-speaking but perceptive housekeeper Beata Hvardagslag, called back to the family to cook up a solution to their problems, Metaphors of kitchen and household abound in her astonishingly modern, metacritical approach to storytelling.