Book review - Alias Grace

A woman sits in a prison cell.

In 1843, at the age of sixteen, servant girl Grace Marks was convicted for her part in the vicious murders of her employer and his mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Grace herself claims to have no memory of the murders.

A curious book this. It read like a Tracy Chevalier - take a minor historical figure and spin a yarn around them - although written before Chevalier's debut.

It's a cracking tale of sex, murder, and insanity. Why are we willing to believe the worst of people? How does class influence our sense of morality? What are the limits of modern science?

It flops around a bit between first and third person. With the addition of letters written between the characters, it can become a bit of a mish-mash. I was waiting for a twist which never quite materialised but, having read a little of the actual history, that's only because the truth is often more mundane than fiction.

A suspenseful and entertaining novel, filled with haunting prose.

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