Burial Rites book review

Posted August 11, 2018 by Jordann @thebookbloglife in 4 star, book reviews, Uncategorized / 4 Comments

Burial Rites book reviewBurial Rites by Hannah Kent
on 10th September 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 336
Buy on Amazon

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, Burial Rites evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Burial Rites, although completely different to what I expected, completely blew me away. I somehow managed to pick this book up, read through the entire thing and still didn’t realise that it was based on a true story, which is completely ridiculous of me. Burial Rites tells the story of Agnes who was the last woman to be executed in Iceland after she was convicted for the murders of two men. I think the beautiful way it’s written plays a huge part in this, the way this book is paced and told does not feel like it should be a true life story.

My one complaint with Burial Rites, and it’s not even that big of a deal was the pacing, I thought the beginning was really slow paced, which was great because it really built up the atmosphere and the setting. But at the same time, I thought that because we had spent so much time on the beginning that the ending felt almost rushed and there wasn’t as much time spent on the crime itself. When I complain about the pacing I’m really not complaining because the slow pacing of the beginning really helped build the setting and the background for the rest of the story. 

I think a lot of this story success comes from the beautifully way it’s written, most of this book, nothing really happens. It’s a series of flashbacks and collections of thoughts and feelings, and the only action part of the book isn’t even action. I thought at the beginning when I first started reading the book that I was going to struggle but this book moved so quickly and I was so drawn in. I just didn’t want to put it down, I was really impressed with the writing and the way everything was brought in together and unravelled

The characters are also deep and well written, I think the development throughout the story is so well thought out and by the end of the book, they are almost completely different people but in a totally believable fashion. Which is one of the best things about this book, is that the characters grow so much and it doesn’t feel forced in the slightest. Something that can be extremely hard to get to work and something that can be difficult to get right, so I was extremely happy with the results in this book!

I would definitely recommend this book, it has a really unique take on historical fiction and I definitely recommend buying this and jumping into it as soon as you possibly can! You really won’t regret especially if you’re into historical fiction.

Have you read Burial Rites? What was your thoughts about the pacing? Let me know in the comments!

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