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Based on a true story, Burial Rites tells the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, an Icelandic woman in the 1830s who is found guilty of murder along with two others and sentenced to death. She is placed with a local family on their farm until the date of her execution and naturally they are horrified to be sharing their small home with a murderess. The first half of the book focuses more on Agnes's removal from her prison and placement with the family and then the second half focuses on what led Agnes to be accused of the murder of her lover/employer and another man.

This book was recommended to me as being similar to The Miniaturist, which I had loved. In many ways, this is correct, as it's got the same sort of slow and detailed style to it, and Burial Rites is a book which needs to be read at a slower pace than some books. It's very atmospheric and drew me into the area and gave me an appreciation of the desolation of the landscape in Iceland at that time. Agnes's story is interesting to read and I enjoyed both the parts where she told the story and the bits in the third person from the viewpoint of the young priest she asks to help her through the time before her execution, and the various family members with whom she finds herself living.

This is a very good book and I enjoyed it very much, but I can't say it was the easiest read. It has a poetic style about it but I didn't find it over the top in this respect. I think it will be interesting to see what this author does next.
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on 25 June 2017
Absolutely loved being taken out of my comfort zone with this story. Based on a true story and set in the 1800's in Iceland. Wonderful descriptions of the landscape and the lives of the characters. Bleak in places, like the landscape but could not put it down. Hannah Kent is a wonderful story teller. Highly recommend.
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on 15 May 2017
Really hard going so I've only given it 3 stars. It's a bit depressing and the Icelandic names are hard to remember who is who! In fact I haven't even finished it as it's hard work! My friends in the book club say it's great though so what do I know!!
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on 27 April 2017
A wonderful book, a view shared by my entire reading group. A rare thing. We held an in depth discussion on the quality of the writing, the research, the sense of authenticity of place and characters. I'd recommend this book to every reader.
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on 11 June 2017
This book tells a fictionalised version of the tale of Agnes Magnusdottir, arrested and sentenced to death for murder in the 1830s I Iceland. The feel and smell, fear and isolation, of lonely farmsteads of Iceland are beautifully rendered, as is the ways in which power, ego and love interact to send Agnes to her sad end. It is an interesting and moving read
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on 29 April 2017
An excellent read. Don't be put off by the title. A compassionate look at a terrible event. The landscape of Iceland in the 18hundreds is beautifully portrayed.
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on 1 July 2015
Beautifully eloquent and atmospheric. The author writes with confidence and creates amazing characters and a believable story. It's hard to believe this is Hannah Kent's debut novel. It's a story that won't leave you and you will want to hurry back to at every opportunity. Really enjoyable.
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on 16 March 2017
A very good story. Looking forward to her next book.
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on 26 May 2017
This book is so beautifully written - it's an ode to Iceland and fascinating whether you've visited the country or not. It's told in a really slow and gentle way but it's totally gripping from start to finish.
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on 21 March 2017
It's been a while since a book that I've read really captivated me... All the research Hannah Kent did to write this book really comes through the pages. The characters are dynamic and interesting. I look forward to reading more from this author!
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