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Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This haunting and beautifully written novel is sent in northern Iceland in 1829. Based on a true story, it follows the plight of Agnes who has been condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. While Agnes waits for her execution date to be confirmed she is sent to live on the farm of District Officer Jon, his wife and two daughters. They are appalled at the situation and try to ignore the murderess in their midst. Agnes’ only friend seems to be the assistant reverend who has been sent to look after her spiritual needs. But as the months change from summer to winter, everyone begins to understand that Agnes may not be the cold-blooded murderer they first thought as her story of love and betrayal is revealed.

This is a spine-tingling, moving read that had me gripped to the very end. It’s truly an extraordinary tale set in a formidable landscape. Hannah Kent captures the plight of the main character very well, along with the harsh, unforgiving Icelandic landscape. I would highly recommend this accomplished and thought-provoking novel.

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