Lucille's Reviews > Alias Grace

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
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May 18, 12

bookshelves: historical-fiction, canlit
Read in May, 2012

This story is based off of a true murder case from the Victorian era. Grace Marks was convicted of the murder of her employer Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery. What is unclear is whether she was the unwilling victim of James McDermott or the temptress that manipulated him and forced him into action with sexual promises.
Atwood takes the story and the mysteries around it which may never be solved and turns it into an inquest. Dr Jordan is an up and coming doctor in the field of insanity. Grace Marks claims that she has gaps in her memory from when the murders were committed. He is trying to figure out if that is true, and how the amnesia came to be, as well as what really happened that day. He has been hired by a group of people who believe that Grace was wrongly convicted and who wish to overturn her conviction.
I found the novel a little slow at first, but I really started getting into things by the middle. It goes through Grace's entire history, from her poverty stricken childhood to her time in various households as a servant. Along the way, she meets Mary Whitney, a free spirit who becomes her best friend. Grace and Mary are inseparable until tragedy strikes. Eventually Grace ends up in Kinnear's house where things are not as they seem, and everyone is hiding something.
There are a lot of really well written and tense moments and I was really curious about where this could go. Its an interesting case, and Atwood does a great job of bringing it to life.
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