It is the autumn of 1710, and the plague is spreading its black wings across Stockholm. The church bells are ringing constantly for the dead. Bodies litter the narrow streets.

Fifteen-year-old Magdalena has grown up in a rich, happy family. But not even the most privileged homes in the city are safe from the disease that some say is a punishment from God. When Magdalena’s mother dies, she and her little sister Ebba are sent away to their aunt while their father stays in Stockholm.

Without her parents, Magdalena is forced to grow up quickly as she takes care of her sister. They arrive at Black Pond Castle, where they meet their mother’s sister for the first time. Aunt Katarina is fanatically religious, cold and judgmental. The castle is severely understaffed. Beautiful, but slowly falling apart. The rooms are full of secrets. Why does Katarina hate Magdalena’s mother so much? Why is Magdalena not allowed, under any circumstances, to meet Katarina’s stepson Axel? Why did Magdalena’s mother leave her home town in such a rush? Who is the terrifying priest that has aunt Katarina in the palm of his hand? And why does the elm tree behind the church never lose its blood-red leaves?

All will be revealed, as autumn moves into winter. And a love story develops between Magdalena and Axel. They can only bloom at night, hidden from sight. But the final piece of the puzzle arrives together with a doll, sent from Stockholm to Magdalena’s little sister …

Night Violets is a beautiful, eerie story about dark family secrets, forbidden love, ghosts and memories.


Czech Republic: Dobrovsky
Denmark: Straarup & Co
Netherlands: Blauw Gras
Persian rights: Bastin
Romania: Editura Paralela 45
Russia: Albus Corvus
Sweden: Rabén & Sjögren

Colleagues praise:

“I have already read it and can tell you it’s ridiculously good! Deadly diseases, forbidden love, castles and dark secrets!”,  Jenny Jägerfeld

“Damn, this is 18th century grimdark! Cold castles, plague, porridge, everything an old goth could wish for! I wish I had this book as a teenager. How I would have enjoyed it. I do now, too.”, Karin Tidbeck

“Night violets is a real gothic treat of a book.”, Sara B Elfgren

“I’m so glad that Sweden’s foremost horror master also writes with so much love.”, Katarina Wennstam


“The story is a classically, slowly told and nicely portraited manor tale with clear Cinderella elements and not least a respectful greeting to predecessors such as Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. The strongest thing in the book, despite plague, ghosts and sadistic castle wives, is Strandberg’s nuanced portrayal of the girls’ sisterhood, with small means that give a very nice effect. Despite crises and challenges, they find their way back to each other. Strandberg’s real demons are found among the living; the dead wish us no harm. It’s a bit as if Maria Gripe and Lars Norén had a (literary) love child. But outside of marriage, of course.”
Dagens Nyheter / SWE

Night Violets is spooky and thrilling but it’s also a fantastic family story. The flow in the language is so important when writing for children and Mats Strandberg is a real master. The book is dark and maybe scary, so why not streach read aloud for the book thursty youngsters?”

Night Violets has all the ingredients needed for a story with just the right amount of eeriness and scariness. The language flows nicely all throughout the book. As always, with this type of story, as a reader I try to be one step ahead and figure out what’s going on, but despite the fact that I’m significantly older than the target audience, I don’t succeed all the way through and the end turns out to be a surprise. Beside the scary story, Strandberg touches on issues of women’s rights and prejudices about what makes ‘a real man’, which gives the book a modern touch despite the fact that it’s set in the 16th century.”
Skånska Dagbladet / SWE

“Suspense and the supernatural are Mats Strandberg’s hallmarks and they return also in this book. The story rests on classic tropes – the evil stepmother, the sick and trapped child who gets new strength from company and fresh air, the oppressed who turns out to have royal blood. And Strandberg is a solid storyteller. It never gets boring.”

“Mats Strandberg makes his reader gasp for air. It’s both beautiful and clever. And very creepy. Because Strandberg knows what he’s doing.”
Expressen / SWE

“A really eerie story that already feels like a Swedish classic.”
Cafe / SWE

“The writing is cinematic and beautiful with fog, smoke and starry skies. Strandberg’s language is simple and straight-forward without being banal, “old-fashioned” but not archaic …. It’s at its very best in the scenes where Magdalena meets Axel, the young lord of the castle, and when she worries about the changes in her sister under the influence of their strict aunt. Towards the end there’s a twist and an escalation that makes the book hard to put down.”
Jönköpings-Posten_1 / SWE

“A dark story where the floorboards are creaking, candles are sputtering and deception, punishment by riding crop and disease is lurking behind every corner. Add to that an evil priest and a restless spirit – a perfect read!”
Jönköpingsposten_2 / SWE

“It’s been a while since I read a book that really captured me, but this one was impossible to let go of. Just the right sort of cozy creepiness, with a strong young girl in the lead. I like a lot.”
enlitenbokitaget / SWE

“While reading I have felt anger, frustration and sorrow, but also joy and hope. Strandberg has created magic again!”
proudtobeabookaholic / SWE

“It’s eerie, exciting, creepy, beautiful, sad, loving and unexpected. 5 out of 5, of course.”
duarvaddulaser / SWE

“Beautiful, supernatural and melancholic. Just like a Strandberg novel should be.”
theresekarngren / SWE

“It’s rare that I can´t put a book down. I loved it!”
tinita_rios / SWE

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