I have literally just closed the covers on this book and my heart feels heavy. A novel based on true events and characters, Burial Rites tells the story of Agnes Magnusdottir; a woman condemned to death for the murder of her employer.
This was a haunting read; from the eerie prose, dripping in darkness, to the ravens that constantly circle the farms, waiting for a sign of vulnerability from the animals.
Hannah Kent creates the atmosphere of rural Iceland in the 1800's with flawless accuracy. I could feel the chill in my bones from the winter winds, and the tiny bits of heat from the kitchen that drift into the rooms as Agnes tells her story to Reverend Toti.
And though these characters lived hundreds of years ago, they felt extraordinarily alive to me. Agnes, the family who hold her prior to her execution, the ghosts of her life before the murder and of course, the young Assistant Reverend who is given the task of preparing Agnes for her death.
This was good. Very good.