Early in life Bella discovers the world is made for men. They own everything: property, jobs, wives. But Bella sees what few others do: where women are concerned, men are weak.
An unscrupulous woman can take what she wants. And so Bella sets out to prove she can be as ruthless and black-hearted as any man.
Starting with her husband Mads, Bella embarks on a killing spree the like of which has never been seen before – nor since. All the while leaving her kind, older sister Nellie to gaze in horror as Bella’s schemes to enrich herself and cut down the male population come to terrible fruition…
Thanks to Kallie at Michael Joseph for sending me this finished paperback copy of Triflers Need Not Apply. As the blurb says this is the story of Bella who embarks on a murderous journey over a number of years. Confession time, I had no idea this was based on a true story and frankly that just added to my reading pleasure.
Bella lived in Norway and it was this link that initially intrigued the author. The story is told by Bella and her sister Nellie who helped Bella leave Norway and begin a new life in America, following a traumatic and violent incident in Norway where Bella was a victim. It is intimated throughout the book that what happened in Norway was a trigger for later events although this is not known. Later events being, Bella embarking on a mission to deal with unwanted men through murder. This subsequently evolved into something more sophisticated and a means to make money.
The book spans Bella’s life and while she was merciless as a person, there were numerous parts of her story that were very sad. She was known to love her children and this was evident throughout, that said there was a sense that her option to kill was always available to her and this could override any emotional connection if required.
There is much not known about Bella although the author has attempted to stay close to what is known about her. What we have is a highly entertaining story with lots of dark humour. For me Bella was a likeable character and her audacity impressed me, although clearly in reality she was a highly damaged woman. I was surprised a t her willingness to kill and her matter of fact manner, but this made for entertaining reading. The narrative of Nellie succeeded in creating empathy I think, although Bella was so extreme in her actions at times it felt to farcical to be true.
About the Author
Camilla Bruce was born in central Norway and grew up in an old forest, next to an Iron Age burial mound. She has a maser’s degree in comparative literature from The Norwegian University of Science and Technology and a varied work history in communications and project management. Camilla currently lives in Trondheim with her son and cat. Triflers Need Not Apply is her first foray into historical fiction.