Author: Hannah Kent, 2013.
Genre: Historical Fiction. Iceland 19th Century.
Other Details: ebook. 337 pages.
In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jón Jónsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes. Only Tóti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul.
As the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’s ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn’t she? - synopsis from author's website.
I first read this novel when it was short-listed for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (2013 Book 96) and when it was selected for our library reading group welcomed the opportunity to re-read. It proved well worth a second read as it allowed me to experience again this powerful tale based on true events.
It was very well received by the entire reading group and generated plenty of discussion of its plot, characters and setting. It is rare for everyone to give a thumbs up and I would again state how engaging a novel this is.