The young and beautiful Beata Charlotta becomes the belle of the country’s most powerful theatre house when she makes her debut at the tender age of sixteen. Admired by the King and his court, and lusted after by wealthy and powerful men, Beata Charlotta soon finds herself in the company of courtiers and charlatans alike. Her beauty becomes a curse, however, that puts her in the workhouse and later banishes her to pre-revolutionary Paris because of the royal secrets she has uncovered.
Beata Charlotta’s journey takes her from the gutters of Stockholm, on to the beautiful yet vicious streets of Paris, and later on a grand tour of Italy where she finds that her beauty can also be a blessing as she manages to charm the Italian elite. Actress, courtesan and spy, Beata Charlotta becomes a friend to queens as well as mistress to a man who would be king.
The Courtesan is the fourth standalone sequel of Laestadius Larsson’s books about women in the late 1700s, a time where the silk and wigs of the court existed side by side with gutter filth and extreme poverty.
“A rich page-turner about a remarkable woman”
The Royal Child Bride – Book 1
It is June 1774 and the royal ship of the line Sofia Albertina approaches the coast of Sweden. On board is Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta, fifteen years old and the youngest royal bride in Sweden's history.
The popular noblewoman Sophie von Fersen silently curses her mother who forced her on the journey. She does not want to look after a difficult German child, in her mind she is at a ball in the arms of Prince Fredrik's. In Stockholm, Gustav III and his court prepare a grand reception. The expectations on the girl are high, she will marry the king's brother Karl and give the country the long-awaited heir.
And far below the castle's beautiful state apartments, Johanna wakes up – she is a mute girl who empties the chamber pots every morning.
This is the introduction to journalist Anna Laestadius Larsson's debut novel The Royal Child Bride which is the first part in a trilogy. A story of friendship, betrayal, lust for power and for freedom that takes the reader back to the Gustavian era, depicted from the women's perspective.
“... a lively and detailed depiction of the charming and strong-willed teenager's culture shock. […] The Royal Child Bride is an interesting contribution to a women's history, which is still largely unwritten. Laestadius Larsson convincingly describes how even women at the top of the social hierarchy were treated as commodities with limited influence over their own lives.”
“A book about power-seeking, freedom seeking, love, friendship, betrayal and compulsion.”
Bloggen Villa Freja
“Entertainment literature and reality escape with classic ingredients like love, betrayal, power and friendship.”
“An entertaining and clever novel that highlights women's role in history.”
“Laestadius Larsson is a convincing historical author, the text becomes a film in front of my eyes, and I let myself be swept away to the streets of Stockholm among hansoms and powdered wigs, sewers and dirt in a fine blend with the lavish luxury.”
Dagens Bok, Book of The Day
The Chamber Pot Maid – Book 2
It is March 1792 and King Gustav III lies dead at Stockholm Castle. The new regent Duke Karl, greets the people from the balcony. On the courtyard below, stands Johanna, once Pottannie at the castle, with a cramped hold on her son Nils. She if anyone knows what the Duke is capable of. At a time when procuresses lurk in the taverns, where women working the streets are arrested and where occupational choices are very limited to a single mother, Johanna is still determined to forget the past and create a better life.
Inside the castle's gilded halls, the duchess Charlotta dreams of influence and power. Together with her friend and lady-in-waiting Sophie, she assembles the educated ladies of her time in secret women's salon The Blue Stockings.
In The Chamber Pot Maid, readers once again meet the chamber maid Johanna, the Duchess Charlotta and Countess Sophie from The Royal Child Bride. It is a story of injustice, oppression and what unites us all: the longing for love and to control our own lives.
“A historical novel that balances well between being entertainingly easy-read, while interesting and well-written […] You can tell that the author did her research, because the reader gets a history lecture thrown in. A big plus for the feminist view.”
“Throughout the book there is a strong feeling and longing for one's own life, for freedom and for love. The Chamber Pot Maid is a tender and beautiful story that touches, while experiencing that you really get a true insight into Sweden in the late 18th century.”
“It's an exciting and engaging read straight through that calls for reflection and gratitude about how far we have come in the fight for gender equality.”
“She nimbly weaves together what happened with what might have happened. Beautiful Stockholm images are mixed with time-typical details that show us that the author has not been idle when it comes to the research; The clicking noise when body lice explode in the collar of a coat when ironing, I'll never forget that image.”
“The author has managed to capture the atmosphere both in the court and on the street, and I like the feminist tone that runs through the story.”
The Noble Vixen – Book 3
It is June 1810 and there is a fire on the terrace of the Fersen family palace. Countess Sophie Piper moves restlessly back and forth, feeding the fire with letters and transcripts that under no circumstance may end up in wrong hands. On the streets of Stockholm, you can hear the mobs shouting: they are going to hang the vixen in her own bowels and then have supper at Haga castle.
At Haga Charlotta is preparing for flight. A boat is waiting in Brunnsviken to take her away if the people decide to attack the castle. They are both victims of a carefully planned hate campaign directed from The Happy Ewe. A tavern owned by Johanna, who was once Charlotta’s chamber maid.
The Noble Vixen is the independent and concluding novel in the trilogy about Charlotta, Sophie and Johanna. It is a story of hatred that destroys and love that survives despite all.
“Knowledgeable, with a strong language and a social awareness that throbs beneath the text. Both fun and important reading.”
“I think Anna Laestadius Larsson does it so well when she pieces together her fictional character with what actually happened on Stora Nygatan Street 206 years ago. Jaw-dropping! ... The settings and the clothes are so clear that I see them before me. The language and dialogues have a flow and credibility that I love … It's very clever.”
“A trilogy about the Swedish court in the 18th century. Fiction blends in a good way with facts. It feels like reading some of Philippa Gregory's books, only set in Sweden instead of in Great Britain”
“I'm very pleased with this closing part too, and have appreciated the whole trilogy part for part, but also as a whole. The female perspective has added new knowledge and thoughts for me, and the time I have spent reading these books has been very pleasant, as both style and language and the historical aspect have appealed to me.”
“These books are, despite the violent historical events, warm and easily read […] this is the history of women, here the men have to stand back […] You don’t even have to like historical novels to love this trilogy.”
Hilma – The mystery of Hilma af Klint
“I stood in front of the easel, so small, so insignificant, but within me was such a force that I had to move forward.”
It’s the turn of the nineteenth century - industrialization forces people together in the cities, faith and science stand against each other, and demands for rights for workers and women will soon change our world forever. This is the time in which Hilma af Klint lives and works. She paints like no one else has done before, assisted by the mysterious women’s group The Five, and High Masters of the Spiritual World. She is so convinced that the world is not ready for her art that she hides the paintings as they are finished. For more than 40 years after her death they were forgotten, until one day in 1986, when a couple of the paintings showed up at an exhibition in Los Angeles.
This is the novel about the woman, the artist and the mystery Hilma of Klint.
A story about following your inner voice, trying to accomplish the impossible.
Anna Laestadius Larsson
Hilma - En roman om gåtan Hilma af Klint