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“Anna’s relationship to Hercules did seem much happier in comparison, especially when her belly started to swell. The pregnancy was uncomplicated, even though Anna sometimes complained of strange sensation in her stomach. When Franz laid and ear to her belly, he could hear clicking and whirring sounds in there.” (19)

In Tidbeck’s “Beatrice” the beginning of the story seems to feature slightly insane characters in the normal world, until it is shown, halfway through, that Anna and a steam engine conceived a child together, thus making it clear that this is not occurring in our world. The choice to introduce the fantastic element so late is risky but, in this case, it was effective in creating an interesting story. However, doing so did have some drawbacks. One such drawback is that by introducing the fantastic so late, it made it more difficult for the reader to accept that the fantastic was in fact true, causing the reader lose some belief in the story. Another shortcoming of this story is that it seems to be almost entirely exposition. The true story did not seem to begin until “The catastrophe came when Josephine was four years old” (21). This made the arc seem rushed as it was crammed into less than a page and a half. This, despite it causing a hasty story arc, was not too terrible a decision as it allowed the characters to be more fleshed out than they would have been otherwise.

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