NEWES FROM THE DEAD tells the true story of Anne Green; a young girl who was hanged in 1650 for anfanticide but survived the gallows. The book shifts from the dissection room, where Anne is lying ready to be dissected in order for medical advancement, back to before her grisly fate as a way of explaining how a lowly servant girl came to be found guilty of the murder of a baby. The main thrust of the story is true - of course, as Hooper herself explains, she has used her imagination for all of the conversations and trivia - and what a story it is!
By giving Anne a 'voice', Hooper has succeeded in creating a touching yet starkly shocking tale about miscarriages of justice centuries ago. Despite the time that has passed, the horror of the story remains, as you try and put yourself into this poor girl's shoes. I found both the chapters which are narrated by Anne and the chapters which take place in the dissection room to be filled with humanity and honesty. As the gathered scholars and medics realise that there seems to be life within the cadaver infront of them, you cannot help but share in their horror, as they begin to contmeplate if she is alive, what does that mean for her soul? If she had been dead, would her soul have departed? And if she is to awake, will the lack of a soul mean she will be but a wraith? Such ponderings as this still have relevance today - although we are more medically advanced, the very nature of the soul means that we are no more closer to understanding that etheral part of what it is to be human.
This is a fantastic book. Just because it is meant for young adult readers, do not let that put you off. One of the best reads I have read for a long time.