Set in Norway in the mid-nineteenth century, Dina’s Book presents a beautiful, eccentric, and tempestuous heroine who carries a terrible burden: at the age of five she accidentally caused her mother’s death. Blamed by her father and banished to a farm, she grows up untamed and untaught. No one leads the child through her grief, and the accident remains a gruesome riddle of death, with Dina left haunted by the vindictive spirit of her mother. When her father agrees to take her back after several years, his efforts to cultivate her have little lasting effect.
Tamed only by her tutor, who is able to reach her through music and draw out her gift for mathematics, Dina remains private and closely guarded, while her unconventional behavior and erotic power enchant and ensnare those around her. At age sixteen, she is married off to Jacob, a wealthy fifty-year-old landowner, who later dies under odd circumstances. Wrestling with her two unappeased ghosts, Dina becomes mute and then emerges from her shock to run Jacob’s estate with an iron hand . . . until one day a mysterious stranger, the Russian wanderer Leo, enters her life and changes it forever.