Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Until the lights come back on

Happy to announce the publication in June 2022 of my new book, UNTIL THE LIGHTS COME BACK ON, a cyber-thriller 
that is particularly time focused on Sweden as it joins NATO and is more susceptible to cyber-attacks. 
Publisher Nordstjernan, New York  (Swedish News). Paper. $19.95. 

One reviewer wrote: "Setterdahl's intense thriller introduces a catastrophe all too conceivable in the post-pandemic world: 
Hackers immobilize Sweden by taking down the electrical grid, and people scramble to survive as infrastructure crumbles,,
the economy collapses, and war looms. Setterdahl renders their emotional challenges as her characters raise children, 
find jobs, and try to repair their shattered country. An intriguing, imaginative glimpse at the breakdown of society and the 
tenacity of human hope -- Misty Urban
Attachments area



Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Review of Bishop Hill Reframed by Nordstjernan Oct. 15, 2021

 Review of Bishop Hill Reframed by Nordstjernan publisher, Ulf Mårtensson, in the October 15, 2021 issue of Nordstjernan.

The recently published 246-page non-fiction book, with photographs, about the history of Bishop Hill is a fascinating read about the history of the town and its first settlers. Written by Lilly Setterdahl and designed by Stephan Setterdahl this book provides an overview of the history and legacy through letters by members of the colony. It begins with a look at the principal founder, his beliefs and escape from Sweden’s unfree society in the 1840s. It continues with letters penned by colonists and other eyewitnesses, articles on specific subjects, conversations with descendants, Civil War letters, and a Roster of Officers of Men of the Company D. 57th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865. The struggles of the short-lived colony—of surviving the first winter and the role of and later loss of their leader—come alive through the words of those who left to seek religious freedom in the new world.

Books are available at the Colony Store or contact the Bishop Hill Heritage Association at (309) 927-3899 or through www.bishophillheritage.org.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Review by Jean Larson

 I just finished reading Lilly's remarkable book, filled with extensive research, actual interviews, anecdotal stories, letters, and pertinent photos!!  Amazing!

I scanned through the Civil War section but read the letters written by the servicemen. 

Altogether, the history of Bishop Hill Colony was made more real, an honest story of the life & struggles of those early immigrants from Sweden.

Now I want to go to Bishop Hill!! Jean Larson


Sunday, October 31, 2021



BISHOP HILL REFRAMED-VOICES FROM THE PAST written by Lilly Setterdahl and designed by Stephen Setterdahl; Introduction by Todd DeDecker, Bishop Hill Heritage Administrator; Published by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, May 2021
Funds for the printing were provided by Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation
Review by Jordan H. Murray
It is an honor to write a review of this book. I was brought up in the nearby town of Galva and went to school with many of the Swedish descendants of the Bishop Hill pioneers. Throughout most of my life, I wondered about the development of Bishop Hill as I was given just a taste of its history in junior high school. During my childhood, I slowly picked up small details through books and documents of which I gradually put the pieces together. Having matured, I had more questions as I returned to my childhood home after 30 years. As Lilly points out, this book was written, not only to celebrate Bishop Hill’s 175th anniversary but also to shed light on why a large group of Swedish immigrants decided to pool their resources and leave their native country to found a new settlement in Henry County, Illinois. I continually re-read her book and find more details than before¬¬—too many interesting ones to list in this short review.
This 8-1/2” x 11” hardcover book’s front cover is a favorite, colored photograph of mine as it shows the Bishop Hill dugouts and related buildings that were painted by Olof Krans. The artist arrived in the colony in 1850 as a 12-year-old boy. Nonetheless, the dugouts were gone by then. With the help of an eyewitness, Olof was able to produce a large painting based on the old timer’s description. The back cover shows Krans’ stage curtain painting of Bishop Hill in 1855 as seen when entering the village from the north. Both paintings are on display in the state-owned art museum in Bishop Hill. In 1988, Sweden produced a postage stamp with both Olof’s portrait and the 1855 Bishop Hill image and this too is shown on the back cover.
An important section of this book gives some insight into the religious prophet’s life and gives the reader Eric Jansson’s Farewell Address (to Sweden). This translation explains why Jansson (in his words) left in haste as his purpose was to search for his New Jerusalem and to take the place of Jesus “to save everyone who was willing to accept the atonement” (a doctrine that describes how one can be reconciled (reunited) with God. Jansson thanked those who believed in him and wanted forgiveness for his departure. (At that time, he didn’t know where he was going.)
As with most endeavors, people make things happen and in the case of the founding of Bishop Hill in 1846, pioneering tenacity and grit made good things happen through grace, hard work, and faith. Even though there were deplorable conditions and untimely murder of the colony’s founder and leader, things gradually improved. After that the trustees had taken over the governing, corruption was uncovered which eventually led to more greed and collusions., resulting in dissolution and division of the property.
It was fascinating to learn how much the women’s work contributed to the development of the colony. There were many more women than men in the beginning but there was a period when the gender numbers somewhat evened out. Nonetheless, later there were still more women than men. Both women and men had left close family behind in Sweden in order to follow Eric Janson to save their souls. Their hard work helped Bishop Hill grow into an economic success story.
The book contains about 30 letters written by colonists to relatives in Sweden. Translated by Lilly, these letters describe “a better life” in America as compared to the life they had left in Sweden. Letters written by former colonists, who had left Bishop Hill, are critical of life in the colony. The book contains several articles describing living and visiting accommodations in the colony, as well as articles written by Lilly about Eric Jansson’s relatives and conversations with descendants. Pertinent high-quality photographs are sprinkled throughout the book for reference. This work was sorely needed because it proves that “a frenzy” of chain emigration of other Swedes followed.. (In my opinion, Eric Janson should be given credit for opening up immigration from Sweden that eventually turned into a mass migration. This event resulted in economic benefits for both America and Sweden.
The personal letters, including the Civil War letters, are important primary sources, which are highly collectible and sought after by scholars. Lilly Settedahl and the Bishop Hill Heritage Association have given us a remarkable gift. The author has written 24 previous books but BISHOP HILL REFRAMED has to be her Magnum Opus.
The book is available at the Colony Store in Bishop Hill.
Price $25.00.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Until the lights come back on


“Until the lights come back on  (a cyber-thriller), is an international, character-driven novel set in Sweden, Norway, Estonia, and Finland. It focuses on three brothers and their parents residing in Sweden, how they react to the attack in the cold month of October, and what they will do to survive. Set to be published by Nordstjernan förlag, New York, 2022. 


Sunday, July 11, 2021

New book about Bishop Hill



As we celebrate the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Bishop Hill Colony, we are proud to present this new book that sheds light on why a large group of Swedish immigrants decided to pool their resources and leave their native country to found a new settlement in Henry County, Illinois. They worked hard for their common good, but like most religious colonies, the Bishop Hill Colony was short-lived. Its sons and daughters became successful farmers of the land that the colony had owned or elsewhere in the American Midwest.
Todd DeDecker, Bishop Hill Heritage Association
Author-editor-translator: Lilly Setterdahl
Design: Stephan Setterdahl
Publisher: Bishop Hill Heritage Association, Bishop Hill, IL


Bishop Hill Reframed presents an honest description of the Bishop Hill Colony. It begins with a look at
the principal founder, his beliefs, and escape from Sweden’s unfree society in the 1840s. It continues
with letters penned by colonists and other eyewitnesses, articles on specific subjects, conversations
with descendants, Civil War letters, and a Roster of Officers and Men of Company D, 57th Illinois
Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865. The book’s cover shows the primitive housing in 1846 and the
prosperous town in 1855, both scenes painted by the colony’s own artist Olof Krans.
The colonists’ willingness to work side by side to create a town in the wilderness—despite the cholera
epidemic and the murder of “the prophet” in 1850—continued unabated until disputes about dogma led
to dissension. Hard economic times and other problems made it necessary to sell large tracts of land to
satisfy the lenders, resulting in the dissolution of the colony in 1860-61. The book is illustrated with
photographs from Sweden and Bishop Hill, the historic buildings in the village, past activities, and
images of the stoic pioneers, men, and women, who built this town.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

55 works in 75 publications

According to Worldcat.org this author has 55 works in 75 publications in 2 languages and 406 libraries. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Cyberattack video




A new manuscript for a novel

 Elisabeth and the Nobleman, a historical romance


Eighteen-year-old Elisabeth is falling for William, but when she finds out he is a nobleman and lives in a castle, she sends him off into the sunset. Her parents would never allow her to date him. She dates other boys but no one measures up to William. Their complicated relationship is wrapped in secrecy, intrigue, deceit, and erotic moments. The castle with the scary Madam looms in the background. The class distinction gets in the way of love. This romantic saga filled with drama plays out in the 1960s, a decade of women’s liberation, the emergence of sexual freedom, miniskirts, long hair, and rock-n-roll, all in collision with the ethics of the past. There are no cell phones and the Internet has not been invented. This book gives the reader a refreshing historical view of our parents’ time and other cultures.  


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Swedish-American Portraits

 Note that the book Swedish-American Portraits, 1972-1994: Photographed by Lennart Setterdahl and reviewed in Nordstjernan Sep. 15 2020 is available in the Bishop Hill Colony Store, Bishop Hill, Illinois, the Swedish-American Museum, Chicago, and the Vasa National Archives in Bishop Hill, Illinois

It can also be purchased from the author directly. Please message me on facebook.


Friday, August 21, 2020

Review of Swedish-American Portraits 1972-1994

REVIEW: “Swedish-American Portraits 1972-1994: Photographed by Lennart Setterdahl",
by Lilly Setterdahl and Stephen Setterdahl. 2020.
Swedish migration researcher Lennart Setterdahl (1928-1995) arrived in USA in 1959
and found a Swedish-American immigrant community in transition. He became deeply
interested in that remarkable population group, and as early as 1962 began documenting it with camera and tape recorder. The results became an highly valuable source for future researchers. Lennart rescued nearly 1,855 church archives, and perhaps 1,000 organizational archives, 140 newspaper archives, and made 3,000 tape recorded interviews of immigrants, both well-known and less-known, along with their descendants. It got devoted support of the whole Setterdahl family, wife and author Lilly, and their three sons Stephan, Christer and Michael. Lilly’s editorial work with Lennart led to her own remarkable writing career, beginning in the mid-1970’s as author of many books on Swedish America, plus later fiction works of high quality. Sweden’s Emigrant Institute in Växjö became Lennart’s primary sponsor from 1969. In 1990 Lennart was awarded an honorary doctorate by Gothenburg University in Sweden in recognition of his devoted work.

Lennart died in 1995, but his work remains an important research source. His author-wife Lilly and son Stephan, (designer and photo editor) together published in 2020 Swedish-American Portraits 1972-1994: Photographed by Lennart Setterdahl, with 262 of Lennart’s remarkable photos from 20 different states, accompanied by segments of those interviews.
Both this impressive new illustrated book, and Lilly ́s welcome background story of the
Setterdahl family’s pathbreaking research, Documenting America ́s Swedish Immigrants:
Lennart Setterdahl ́s Life and Work, complement each other. They are fascinating reading, and
are available by contacting Lilly at email address: lillysetterdahl@gmail.com.
John E. Norton, ed., Augustana Historical Society Newsletter, Augustana College


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Outdoor book signing by Lilly Setterdahl

Outdoor book signing by Lilly Setterdahl in Bishop Hill

Aug. 22, 2020, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the entrance to the Steeple Building in historic Bishop Hill, Illinois.

Featured book: Swedish-American Portraits 1972-1994: Photographed by Lennart Setterdahl. Released on August 1, 2020. 
Text: Lilly Setterdahl
Design: Stephan Setterdahl
High-quality hardback coffee table book, 10x12 inch. Price $29.95. Contains 262 unique images and descriptive texts.
The black and white portraits in this book show Swedish Americans as they appeared in daily life at the time they were interviewed. Their faces give a candid, honest, and genuine glimpse of hardworking individuals, most of them at retirement age. The photos were taken in 20 different states, with Minnesota, Illinois, and Nebraska having the largest representation. The landscapes and small post-office buildings show a disappearing small-town America.
The author has 54 works in 73 publications in 2 languages deposited in 407 libraries to her credit. This is her 19th nonfiction book about Swedish America. She is also a novelist. 
Other books by the same author will be available at the signing, as for instance, Documenting America's Swedish Immigrants, which describes Lennart and Lilly Setterdahl's travels across the United States and into Canada to preserve documents and memories of the Swedish ethnic group. 
See www.bishophillheritage.org for programs in the village park on the same date as the signing. Outdoor dining is available. The boutiques and the museums are open.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Swedish-American Portraits

Swedish-American Portraits 1972-1994: Photographed by Lennart Setterdahl by Lilly Setterdahl and Stephan Setterdahl, is a coffee table book, published in 2020.
The portraits in this book show Swedish Americans as they appeared in daily life at the time they were interviewed by the photographer. Their faces give a candid, honest, and genuine glimpse of hardworking individuals, most of them at retirement age.
The photos were taken in 20 different states, with Minnesota, Illinois, and Nebraska having the largest representation. The landscapes and small post-office buildings show a disappearing small-town America.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Book Fair in Bishop Hill

Outdoor book fair at Bishop Hill Creative Commons, 309 N. Street, Bishop Hill, IL July 11 from 10 a.m. to ? I'll be there with my latest books.  www.amazon.com/Lilly-Setterdahl/e/B001K8FWDG

10 am until 5 pm BOOK FAIR! Readings & Workshops
5 pm - 6 pm Authors Happy Hour & Round Robin Conversation
6 pm Potluck with Community
7pm Concert with Musicians & Author

All Proceeds to Benefit a Community Orchard for Bishop Hill

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Books published

Lilly Setterdahl Books


Swedish-American Newspapers: A Guide to the microfilms held by Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center (1981)

Bror Johansson’s Chicago. Co-authored (1985)

A Pioneer Lutheran Ministry: L. P. Esbjorn and his Family in Andover, Illinois (1988)

Memories Preserved: The Inventing Bostroms and Guide to Interviews with Swedish Americans. Coauthored (1988)

Memories Preserved, Vol. II. Scandinavians in Alabama and Guide to Interviews with Swedish Americans. Coauthored. (1992)

A Century of Song: American Union of Swedish Singers 1892-1992 (1992)

Rockford Swedes: American Stories. Coauthored (1993).

Rockford Swedes: American Stories, republished, 2016 with a new cover. Also published as E-Book

Minnesota Swedes: The Emigration from Trolle Ljungby to Goodhue County 1855-1912 (1996)

Minnesota Swedes, Vol I: The Emigration from Trolle Ljungby to Goodhue County 1955-1912. Second edition revised published as a printed book and E-Book (2015)

Minnesota Swedes: Volume II: Trolle Ljungby Families in Goodhue County 1855-1912 (1999)

I Emigranternas spår: Människor vi mött, 1959-1995. (In Swedish, 2002)

Swedes in Moline, Illinois: 1847-2002 (2003).

Growing up in Sweden: In the Shadow of World War II (2008). Also, as E-Book, 2015

Chicago Swedes: They spoke from the heart (2010). Also, as E-Book, 2016

Not my time to die: Titanic and the Swedes on board (2012)

True Immigrant Stories. The Swedes of Cleveland, Ohio 1873-2013 (2014)

Documenting America’s Swedish Immigrants: Lennart Setterdahl’s Life and Work, 2019.


Maiden of the Titanic (2007) out-of-print. Republished as E-book.

Hero of the Titanic (2011) Sequel to Maiden of the Titanic. Republished as E-book.

Second Love After 50 (Paper, 2015). E-book, 2016.

Katrin, almost American, a Swedish-American Immigration Novel (2017)

Titanic Sailing Again, an epic novel, sequel to Hero of the Titanic. (Short stories), 2019.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Titanic Talk with Titanic Tea

Saturday, April 18, 2-4 p.m.
Midwest Writing Center, Rock Island, Public Library, 401 19th Street, Rock Island, IL. Ground Floor.

Lilly Setterdahl, local author, will talk about the world's most famous ship, Titanic, that sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, and read from her book, Titanic Sailing Again, published in 2019. Refreshments will be served with Titanic-inspired treats. Titanic attire encouraged. A native of Sweden, Lilly Setterdahl has authored 23 books with four of them being about the Titanic. She will offer book for sale and autograph them. Free and open to the public.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Titanic Sailing Again Review

Titanic Sailing Again a book review

Anyone who has been following author and Vasa member Lilly Setterdahl may know she released a new “Titanic” book this year. Titled “Titanic Sailing Again” the novel portrays many of the passengers as offspring of the survivors of the original Titanic, the ship that so devastatingly sank on its maiden voyage in 1912.

As the original passenger list included many Swedes or Scandinavians, so did the list for this voyage as well. It is a great read, easy to follow, and interesting as it took generation after generation to form connections in their lives and as current passengers. The passenger list included several generations of the same families, intertwining and enjoying the trip together. It takes you back to the timeframe of 1912 on the first leg of the trip, then a bit more relaxed, but still with passengers in classes I, II or III. There is romance aboard, and young couples and not-so-young couples find love with partners that had ancestors surviving the tragedy. There were also some interesting surprises along the trip—courtesy and good manners, fancy dances, elaborate meals, as well as storms or other threats. In true Setterdahl fashion, the characters and their surroundings are described in a way that make you feel you know the people and can relate to them, or have been to their hometowns.

I found this book so well written that I had to google to see if in fact it was a true story. I had heard there was a Titanic II to be built but didn’t think it was ready yet, and yes, in fact, it won’t be ready to sail until 2022. So, while it’s a fictional story at this point, it’s still a possible reality in a few years. I’m wondering if Lilly is planning on being a passenger on the maiden voyage of Titanic II….

Reviewed by Liza Ekstrand

Titanic Sailing Again,6x9,” softcover

Available at Amazon or through Nordstjernan. 
Nordstjernan/The Vasa Star, Vol. 147, No. 17, December 01, 2019. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Documenting America's Swedish Immigrants: The Life and Work of Lennart Setterdahl

This biography is published by Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois.
website: SAMAC.org.

The Swedish immigration to the United States began in earnest in the 1840s and ebbed out in the 1930s when about one million Swedes had arrived in search of better opportunities. This book highlights 35 years of travels in North America to microfilm historical records and tape personal memories of Swedish immigrants and their descendants, an accomplishment which has greatly benefited genealogical researchers.

Read about the man behind this unprecedented effort, Lennart Setterdahl, and his family. It begins in 1959 in Cleveland, Ohio, and the voluntary recording of interviews in the 1960s in northeastern Ohio and the western parts of Pennsylvania and New York. The story continues in 1969 when Mr. Setterdahl was engaged by the Swedish Emigrant Institute, Växjö, Sweden, to locate, inventory, and microfilm Swedish-American church records, a project which was later expanded to include secular societies, periodicals, not-for-profit organizations, and companies founded by Swedes, newspaper holdings, as well as private collections. The work necessitated travels by car through every state in the continental United States and some Canadian provinces. From 1971, the Setterdahl home base was East Moline, Illinois. During the years 1985-1994, Mr. Setterdahl devoted his time to recording oral history. The story ends with Mr. and Mrs. Setterdahl working on a project in Sydney, Australia, in the beginning of 1995.

The author presents a colorful story of the first-hand travel experiences, tribulations, and rewards connected with the work, placing it in a geographical and historical context. Of the thousands of Swedish Americans whom the Setterdahls met during their travels, the author sketches vignettes of more than one hundred individuals. But perhaps foremost, the book is the story of the author's own immigrant family that constantly had to adjust and pull together to achieve extraordinary results.