Review: Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent

What happens to a woman’s life when she has no means of support, no one to help her, and no place to go to escape? And it’s winter in rural Iceland, 1828. Based on a historical events, Burial Rites tells the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, convicted of brutally killing two men. It’s also the story of Tóti, the young priest sent to help her prepare for her execution, and the family charged with housing her at their farm until execution can be arranged. As they live and talk with Agnes, they–and the reader–come to appreciate that her story is more than what is found in the court proceedings, and that Agnes is not just a villain, but also a victim.  Beautifully evoking a lack of choices in a bleak and cold landscape, this debut novel will make you appreciate privacy, central heating, and snowplows.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

Reviewed by: stc

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