Elsi Rydsjö was one of the most read Swedish authors of the late 1970s and the ensuing few decades. She mainly wrote historical romances.
Elsi Rydsjö was the daughter of the Scanian author and public-school teacher Daniel Rydsjö who wrote poems and prose stories in dialect. Her mother was called Signe Serner and was the sister of Gunnar Serner, a successful author who wrote under the pseudonym of Frank Heller. Elsi Rydsjö married Professor Kåre Fröier in 1938 and they had three children named Gertrud, Erik, and Ann. She later married for a second time, this time to Karl Magnus Cranged, albeit they divorced in 1975.
Elsi Rydsjö gained her school-leaving certificate at Hermods at the age of 39. She then worked for various different magazine companies, initially at the Allhems Förlag (publishers) in Malmö from 1959–1965 and then for Åhlén & Åkerlund in Stockholm from 1965–1975.
For several decades Elsi Rydsjö’s work comprised the most read and best-loved Swedish literature. In 1940 she released her first novel, then only 20 years old. It was called Parhästarna and was the first in a series of six books for girls. After an almost decade-long gap Elsi Rydsjö returned to the literary scene with a collection of poems entitled Dedikation, published in 1962, followed the next year by Kavalkad, a family saga.
Elsi Rydsjö herself believed that the publication of her 1977 novel Kvinnorna på Stensvik and the simultaneous beginning of a working relationship with the Albert Bonniers Förlag actually became her second literary debut. Kvinnorna på Stensvik is the opening shot in a trilogy about the eponymous glassworks village in Småland. Using her expertise – Elsi Rydsjö was always meticulous with her research – and her own experiences Elsi Rydsjö primarily depicts the women’s living conditions. Elsi Rydsjö published a total of 23 novels and one poetry collection. She specialised in historical fiction where women took centre stage and the stories often took the form of trilogies. One of her trilogies set in Scania during the 1600–1700s comprises the 1983 Röd är ryttarens häst, the 1984 Allra kärestan min, and the 1985 Spelar min lind. Another of her trilogies comprises En doft av timjan from 1987, and Liten flöjt av silver and De röda Bergen, both from 1988 – in which the events mainly occur during the period of King Karl XII’s reign.
At the age of 63 Elsi Rydsjö moved to Ireland for tax purposes. Seven years later she returned to Scania and settled at Simrishamn where she died in 2015.