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A Blessed Child    by Linn Ullmann order for
Blessed Child
by Linn Ullmann
Order:  USA  Can
Anchor, 2009 (2008)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Three sisters search for their father. He is there, but not for them. Isak is a famous gynecologist, a pioneer in the use of ultrasound. He vowed that since he could not do everything, he would be best in his profession. The sisters are each from a different mother. Erika is the daughter of Isak's first wife, Laura the daughter of his second wife Rosa, and Molly was born of one of his mistresses.

Each summer, the sisters visit their father and Rosa on the island of Hammarsö in the Baltic Sea, which is itself a character in this novel. As the summers pass, the girls' relationships with each other and to their friends on the island change. In particular, a tragedy involving an unusual boy named Ragnar plays a pivotal role in how the sisters see each other, their father, and the people on the island.

There are many questions that not only the sisters but we readers would like answered. Somehow the author prefers looking at the past rather than presenting the consequences of what that past has on the present. It is interesting that author Ullmann is the daughter of actress Liv Ullman and director Ingmar Bergman (who fathered nine children by six women). This clearly written but enigmatic story will definitely keep you thinking after you put the book down.

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