A murderess who must be housed at a farm because there is a financial problem with the prisons? How would you feel about being forced to live with someone who committed murder? Would you feel safe? Would you protest?
Agnes Magnusdóttir was brought to Margret and Jon's home until her execution date. Agnes is required to work as a farmhand in a town that embellishes her murderous deeds more and more each time the tale is told.
In alternating voices and flashbacks the author masterfully lets the reader in on the secrets and the story of the murders and of Agnes' life before her conviction and in her current position in the chosen household.
The author also has you questioning if Agnes has been wrongfully accused. Her flashbacks describe the actual murder, her relationship with the deceased, and her earlier life. A life lived in this same town holding her captive.
The writing and prose is exceptional. The book flows beautifully as it describes the harsh life in Iceland and the bitter weather. There is no lull in the narration.
The book's descriptions are amazing. Every minute detail is described beautifully. Even the dreary, tedious life of each character is described so well you see it clearly and are right there sharing their misery. The living conditions were described as on the poverty level but the families had servants....that was a bit confusing.
Everyone was poised to not like Agnes, but as the story unfolded the family became fond of her simply because she was a good person and a good worker. The only person who didn't like her was Lauga, the daughter of Margret and Jon. Margret became comfortable with Agnes and enjoyed having her around. Each of the characters connected well and are marvelously authentic and believable.
BURIAL RITES is a book that you do not want to miss. The book's situation and setting, the writing, and the characters are all phenomenal and come alive through the author's exquisite skill. 5/5
This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation at the BEA by the publisher in return for an honest review.