Basically, I read Graham Lord’s ‘Niv’ biography and ended up more interested in Hjördis’ life than David’s.
I work for a website that provides information and support to pregnant women and young mothers, so (among other things) I noticed the lack of sympathy for her many miscarriages… which had a huge effect on her life. Searching the internet for more information revealed a stunning amount of unsympathetic and misogynistic things about her.
A few ‘Niv’ book reviews on Amazon showed that I wasn’t alone. To quote Mr (or Mrs) ‘A Customer’:
“There are also some serious double standards at work here. His second wife is excoriated for her infidelities while Niven’s are laughed off as a part of his incurable randyness. Long before the end of this book I was firmly on the side of Hjördis, the unfortunate second Mrs Niven, but the author and Niven’s close friends clearly do not believe the old adage that there are two sides to every story.”
As information about Hjördis from different sources turned up, I began to place it in chronological order, purely to satisfy my own curiosity. This in turn presented an opportunity to have a go at building a WordPress website.
Laying out the story on a public platform was also done in the hope that people who actually knew Hjördis would feel that they could contribute, to balance (or agree with) the opinions of David’s friends. Also, visitors could add their own thoughts.
David Niven’s biographer Sheridan Morley wrote that David: “reinvented himself as a kind of local boy made good” to narrate a “digest of after-dinner stories” in his two best-selling books. No doubting how well it worked! By contrast, Hjördis’ local-girl-made-good story is no author’s device, and I hope it provides a different perspective on her life and the lives of those around her.
Me? Oh. I live on the south coast of England with my wife and two daughters. To answer a few FAQs: I’m not a movie buff, a journalist, Swedish, or a relative of either Niven.