Caroline Coleman O'Neill, |
(Broadman & Holman, 2005)
Soren Kierkegaard was a philosopher and poet in Denmark in the early 1800s. Many of his essays, novels and poems were written with the purpose of reviving Christian faith within the confines of Christendom.
Caroline Coleman O'Neill's first novel is a part of Kierkekaard's story, as told from the point of view of his fiancee, Regina Olsen.
O'Neill's carefully researched novel begins in Copenhagen. At the time that we meet Regina and Soren, Regina has an "understanding" with her kind teacher, Fritz Schlegel; they intend to become engaged upon her confirmation in the Church. However, upon her meeting with Soren, she becomes entranced, indeed obsessed, with the man, who has already become world famous for his intellectual abilities and his writings.
She eventually becomes engaged to Soren, despite her promises to Fritz, and learns that Soren is suffering from bipolar disorder. In trying to help Soren through his episodes, Regina's personality becomes engulfed by Soren's and she experiences an identity crisis.
I loved how O'Neill developed Regina's character; Regina is a deep woman, who morphs from a child into a mature woman over the course of 292 pages. Her descriptions of Copenhagen and the West Indies teleported me there while I sat on my couch, with my glass of wine, reading this beautiful novel.
O'Neill's writing style is extremely accessible; the novel is very readable and once I began it, I could not put it down. I wanted to learn more about Kierkegaard after reading this book.