Author: Hannah Kent
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Published” April 1, 2014
Book Description: Charged with the brutal murder of two men, Agnes Magnúsdóttir has been removed to her homeland’s farthest reaches, to an isolated farm in Northern Iceland, to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family of on the farm at first avoids Agnes. Only Toti, a priest Agnes has chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. As the winter months pass and Agnes’s death looms closer, the farmer’s wife and daughter’s learn there is another side to the sensational tale they’ve heard–but will their new knowledge be enough to save Agnes? Hannah Kent makes real the saga of a doomed young woman who in the early nineteenth century became the last person to be publicly beheaded in Iceland. Rich with lyricism and startling in its revelations, Burial Rites evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place as it poses a heartbreaking question: How can one woman hope to endure when her life depends on the stories told by others?
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: To be completely honest, I have heard of this book for some time now and have completely overlooked it, and I am not sure why. I belong to Book Riot’s Tailored Book Recommendations and received this as one of my picks this quarter. Burial Rites was a complete surprise at how much I loved this book.
Agnes Magnúsdóttir is sentenced to death in the earlier 1800’s in Iceland. To await her appeal and execution she is sent to live with a family who she ends up working for. She develops a relationship with an assistant Priest who is supposed to help her to the path to righteousness. At first this family is very skeptical, but over time she builds a relationship with this priest and the family. Everything these people thought they knew about Agnes, they begin to question. In the lead up to the execution a lot is revealed, but is it too late?
This story is heartbreaking, leading to the final days of Agnes Magnúsdóttir life. Hannah Kent’s writing is exquisite on how she brought this story to life. While this is historical fiction, you can tell Kent painstakingly researched Agnes, the terrain which is very much a character, and all the surrounding elements. This is a book I wanted to savor as the story continued to build. I am so happy I finally got to read this. If you are not one of last people to read this like me, go grab it and enjoy.