Author: Margaret Atwood
Summary: This astonishing new work by the author of the bestselling The Robber Bride and Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood re-creates a mysterious and disturbing murder and breathes life into one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century.
Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murder of her employer, the wealthy Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. Years later, Dr. Simon Jordan - an up-and-coming expert in burgeoning field of mental illness - listens to Grace’s story, from her family’s difficult passage from Ireland to Canada, to her time as a maid in Thomas Kinnear’s household.
As Grace revives her past, Jordan draws her closer to a dark maze of relationships and her lost memories of the day her life shattered
My Rating: 9.25/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: It’s hard to put into words, what I felt about this book, it was so well done, and well written, not to mention a few twists, which kept the my attention throughout the book. In fact at times I can say I was gripped by the words as they came off the pages, keeping me guessing to what was actually going on in the character, Grace’s, head.
Atwood can really write a cast of complex and very flawed characters, who grab a hold of the reader, and pull them into the story. The characters really make the story here, and you can’t help but become intrigued by Grace, and what is really going on through her mind. Was she, at the time of the murders, someone who was suffering from a mental illness? Or was she fully aware of her actions? Or was she someone who was taken advantage of my vicious murder, who threatened her into taking part of the vicious act? I never really knew for sure what that answer was, but I couldn’t put the book down, in hopes of finding it out. There were hints, she was suffering from multiple personality disorder, a lot actually, some more subtle than others, which I won’t get to into so I won’t spoil things for those who haven’t read the book, but there were some interesting, “hidden” hints, throughout the book.
The historical aspect of the book was also interesting, I don’t know much about the actual events the book is based on, but it was very interesting to read about nonetheless, and to see what Toronto and Richmond Hill was like years ago. I think Atwood painted the picture of life, the scenery and events beautifully. She had a very concrete picture of how everything was back than, and it really made the novel.
Only two issues I had with the novel, one was it moved slowly at times, although I did like it to be detailed, it did move a little slowly for me. My biggest issue is with the ending. Which I loved and hated at the same time, I didn’t like the ending and how things were tied up, but the last paragraph and line of the book shocked me and made me question Grace’s character. I love that the reader is never given closure on what is going on inside her head; even in the end you can’t be sure.
Overall a wonderful book, that I’d highly recommend, it is up there with some of my favourite Canadian literature.
Would I recommend it to read: Highly recommend it. This is different than some of the other books by Atwood I’ve read, and has so many different elements to it; I think a lot of readers can take something from it.
What to read next: The Outlander,