Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Burial Rites

Burial Rites

 

 

In northern Iceland 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul. As  the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’s ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn’t she?

This was a fantastic read, based on true events, Kent does a wonderful portrayal of Iceland, and debuts a deeply moving novel about personal freedom, of who we  think we are and the risks we will take for love. As the story slowly unravels and the insight into the story behind Agnes, the reader is slowly given the answer of if Agnes is truly a cold murderess that everyone around her believes, or is there more?  If you pick up this novel you will not be disappointed. A great story to read.

JMR

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