Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Good People” as Want to Read:
The Good People
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Good People

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  15,771 ratings  ·  2,116 reviews

From the bestselling author of the multi-award-winning Burial Rites

County Kerry, Ireland, 1825.

The fires on the hills smouldered orange as the women left, pockets charged with ashes to guard them from the night. Watching them fade into the grey fall of snow, Nance thought she could hear Maggie's voice. A whisper in the dark.

"Some folk are born different, Nance.

Paperback, 386 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Pan Macmillan
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Good People, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
P.D.R. Lindsay Heard Hannah Kent talk on this recently. She said she tried to make Michael not fit any known kind of illness because she didn't want readers to be sa…moreHeard Hannah Kent talk on this recently. She said she tried to make Michael not fit any known kind of illness because she didn't want readers to be saying 'oh he's got XYZ'. She wanted it to be a mystery to readers so that readers would wonder.(less)
Kiki The News of the World by Paulette Jiles. If you like atmospheric writing that puts you truly in a place and great characters, it's great!…moreThe News of the World by Paulette Jiles. If you like atmospheric writing that puts you truly in a place and great characters, it's great!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,771 ratings  ·  2,116 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Good People
Elyse  Walters
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Nora, I'm sorry for your trouble".........
......,"Nora, I'm sorry for your trouble" is a phrase repeated many times by many of the different people in the community. The Irish speak funny! Ha!

Nora Leahy"s husband has died. It's the 1820's in Ireland. NOT FUNNY....simply interesting language for this American girl. Immediately I noticed the writing by Hannah Kent. It feels richly texture---plus I was looking up expressive unfamiliar vocabulary words....
such as skib, spaniel, and rath, fios sig
Amalia Gkavea
"She was the gatekeeper at the edge of the world. The final human hymn before all fell to wind and shadow and the strange crooning of stars. She was a pagan chorus. An older song."

One of the most exciting and nervous moments in the life of a dedicated reader is the minute we open the next book by a writer who produced a masterpiece whose roots are planted deep in our soul, a novel that has never really left our mind since the last page was turned. In this case, I'm talking about Hannah Kent
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘how frightened we are of being known, and yet how desperately we long for it.’

and reading this story is coming to know the unknown tale of nance roche, her and her small villages belief in superstition, and the tragic consequences because of it.

slowly building word upon word, line upon line, a living, breathing story emerges from the pages of this book. the writing is quite outstanding. every word transported me straight to a rural parts of ireland, during those bleak months leading into t


Hannah Kent’s ”The Good People” is a tale of the lore and superstitions of Ireland in the 1800s, a place and time where fairies are seen in a different light, not the Disney-fied images of Tinker Bell, or even the “god motherly” Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. Magical, tiny, helpful beings, if occasionally impish and prone to temperamental outbursts like Tink. A tale of those who believe in fairies and superstitions, and a tale of those who seek to eradicate this belief, the C
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it

The Good People by Hannah Kent is an impeccably researched story set in Ireland in 1825 and readers interested in pagan traditions and herbal medicine of the time may well enjoy reading this second novel by Hannah Kent. I was however disappointed with character development and the plot of this story
The novel is set in County Kerry in 1825 in a remote valley lying between the mountains of south-west Ireland,near the Flesk river of Killarney, three women are brought together by strange and troubl
Diane S ☔
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor
The book opens with the death of Nora's husband Martin. Nora is now left to be the sole caretaker of her grandson, a four year old that can neither talk nor walk, screams constantly at night and it hard to pacify. Grief stricken, Nora manages to convince herself that he is not her real grandson but rather a changeling, left in his place by the fairies. She will do anything to get her "real" grandson back. Nance is a healer but is also said to know the ways of the fairies.

It is 1825 in Ireland an
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book, beautifully written and very atmospheric. It is also very similar to Burial Rites so if you liked that you will probably like this too.
Again the book is based on a real life story and this time is carried along on the superstitions and beliefs of Irish country folk with very little education and a long history of believing in fairies, the Good People of the title. Not that there is any good about them since they are blamed for every bad thing that happens from sickness
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Good People is about when good people go off the rails due to grief, lore, superstition, and desperation! It's nineteen century Ireland and times are tough. People still believe in fairies and believe they can curse people or steal people away.

Nora's husband Martin has died suddenly leaving her to care for their deceased daughter's child (Michael) on her own. The child is not a healthy one. He once walked and talked like any healthy toddler then one day her son-in-law showed up at Martin and
Since this book is more about the series of events that led something to happen than what actually happened, my full review is a probably a bit too revealing! Here's the short version: In nineteenth-century Ireland, a new widow grapples with the hysteria surrounding her grandson, a four-year-old boy stricken with a mysterious condition that renders him unable to walk or talk. Desperate for a cure, she seeks the assistance of the village handy woman. It's a slow-moving story full of nature descri ...more
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, ireland
Hannah Kent is a fantastic writer. She crafts compelling stories, rich characters, and depicts lush settings with her words. I fell in love with her writing in 2014 after reading her debut novel Burial Rites, and was really excited to read another book from her. This one is similar in that it retells a historical event with the author's creative liberty. It follows a woman who is widowed at the very beginning of the story and left to care for her grandson who has some problems. It ties together ...more
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished Hannah Kent's second novel (I loved her first) and am a slightly overwrought emotional wreck. Who knew a book about fairies and murder could have so many themes and give me so many (often uncomfortable) feels. Stunningly written and raises some important questions but trigger warning also depicts some child abuse. ...more
Aussie author Hannah Kent exploded onto the literary scene in 2013 with the evocative historical fiction novel, Burial Rites. Not only did it win numerous awards, but was also universally praised. As a result, fans like my good self have been waiting (in)patiently to see what Hannah will come up with next. Could The Good People live up to the expectations? I am pleased to say the answer is an unequivocal yes in what is another memorable and engrossing look at a time that we in this day and age c ...more

The grief was etched deeply on Nóra Leahy’s face as she stood in shocked disbelief beside the body of her husband Martin. After losing their daughter Johanna earlier in the year, Nóra hadn’t thought things could get worse. But now with both her husband and daughter gone, the burden of caring for her four year old grandson Micheál, the boy who wasn’t right in the head; couldn’t speak or walk – fell solely on her shoulders. Her shame had her hiding the child away – the gossips of the town wou
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Hannah Kent’s previous novel, “Burial Rites,” and was delighted to read her latest novel. This is also set in a rural, isolated community – in this case 1825 Ireland. Nora Leahy lives with her husband, Martin, and her daughter’s son, four year old Micheal. We meet Nora on the day her beloved husband suddenly collapses and dies. As the village community gather in her house, Nora is quick to hide away young Micheal with her neighbour, Peg. It some becomes apparent that Micheal cannot speak ...more
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to PattyMacDotComma by: Marianne
“It was not the time to tempt the Devil or the fairies. People disappeared on Samhain Eve. Small children went missing. They were lured into ringforts and bogs and mountain sides with music and lights, and were never seen again by their parents.”

Samhain Eve was ‘celebrated’ in old Celtic times as the liminal space between the seasons as they were going into winter. It is also the boundary between old and new, seen and unseen, this world and the other world. It is probably the origin of Hallowe
I'm sure Ms Kent did her research, and there is some beautiful descriptive writing in there, but frankly I was bored. From around page 200 or so I speed-read the rest just to see how it finished. But did I really care? I did not. Some Irish sounding dialogue does not a character make.
Nice touches: the blending of true herbal wisdom and folk beliefs. The way people will believe in whatever works best for them, whether it is the methods of the handy woman or the magicking of holy water finicked ar
Peter Boyle
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
Even in modern Ireland, Celtic folklore still makes an impact. As a boy my Dad loved to fill my head with piseogs and old superstitions: it's terrible luck to meet a red-haired woman on your journey, frogs can cure toothache, turning your coat inside out will keep the fairies away (I have tons more). There is a fairy fort on my neighbour's farm which has always remained overgrown, because if you damage one, you're asking for trouble. Schoolkids make a Brigid's cross from rushes every February, w ...more
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you loved Burial Rites, I cannot see why you wouldn’t love this too. In both Hannah Kent meticulously researches, then takes what she has learned and weaves the factual details of her thorough studies into an utterly believable story. In both what is depicted is grim. It is not a light read that is delivered. In both there is a tension to the telling. In both the feel of a time and a place are meticulously replicated.

What happens here in this story, the tale's plot, how it is told and the in
I first came to know of author Hannah Kent thru her first debut, Burial Rites, short-listed for the Bailey’s prize and the International Dublin Literary award. Her very dark novel is an all time favorite of mine and one I will never forget.

The Good People, her 2nd novel, is both similar and different than her first. Based on true events in County Kerry in 1826 Ireland, Kent takes us to a long ago society with misconceived beliefs similar to the background in Burial Rites. Unfortunately, I didn’t
A stand alone novel by Hannah Kent published 2017.

This is a beautifully written sad tale with characters that jump from the page. Hannah Kent has an innate ability to conjure up times and places and put the reader right in the middle of everything.
This might be historical fiction but much is based on fact.

Ever since human beings set foot on this planet one and a half million or 8 thousand years ago, depending on your religious predilections, we have had a need to believe in the unbelievable. F
The Good People is an intense and deeply unsettling novel based on true events which occurred in Ireland in 1826. Set in an isolated rural community the story is steeped in folklore and superstitions and follows three women deeply flawed and each dealing with her own struggles, grieve and desperation. Hannah Kent's writing is beautiful and she managed to create a bleak but compelling story.
If you enjoy historical fiction, that book is a must read.
Natalie Richards
I feel bad for the low rating on this one. I loved Burial Rites so was really looking forward to reading Hannah Kent`s new book, despite it being a little fantasy-like, a genre I`m not keen on. I should`ve paid heed to my doubts; I don`t do fairies, mystical happenings etc. The writing is still really good, she researched so well and knows how to tell a story. I will definitely read her again. This just wasn`t for me. ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
Another quality read from Hannah Kent. With her first novel Burial Rights and now the Good People, this lady sure knows how to tell an unhappy story!
The Good People are fairies and belief in them and their tricks were integral to 19th century life in Ireland, sitting, perhaps uncomfortably, along side Catholicism.
Kent has done her research and her story is based on true events. The superstitions described are so interesting: cutting the corner from bread before eating to let the devil
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story is set in Ireland of 1825, in a small area by the valley, in which people are superstitious and they try to explain everything the old way as it used to happen in the past in small, isolated communities.
The story itself is atmospheric and  so compelling and drowns you to it.
Besides dealing with superstitious in that old days, it also deals with grief, embarrassment and fear of the unknown.
The debt that the author provides in all her characters is very detailed as the research you unde
Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
Such conflicted feelings about this one. Like in Burial Rites, one of the standout things in here is the nature writing. Deliciously, chillingly atmospheric. And the questions raised in this book about ethics, folklore, ignorance, and knowledge are fascinating to think about. The Good People takes place in rural Ireland in 1825, and follows a middle-aged, recently widowed woman named Nóra who’s raising her sick four-year-old grandson. After developing normally for two years, the boy suddenly los ...more
4.25 stars.

I think the best way to describe this book is UNSETTLING.

It's basically about superstition in rural Ireland in the 1820s. Nora's daughter died prior to the beginning of the book, leaving Nora and her husband with the care of their disabled grandson. When Nora's husband dies too, word starts to spread that the child isn't natural, is a changeling, is cursing them all.

As with Burial Rites, it's inspired by actual events. I felt for the characters throughout, but I also wanted to bang
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hannah Kent is an Australian writer who has done a great deal of research to produce a book based on historical events in Kerry Ireland. There are a lot of detailed reviews out there so this will be short. The primary characters are all female and each is richly developed and compelling. The details on traditional beliefs are skillfully provided. I did a little research on my own about the presence of clergy in 19th century Ireland when the Penal Laws were still in effect. http://www.libraryirel ...more
Alice Lippart
Atmospheric, dark and harrowing. Loved it.
As with Hannah Kent's first book, Burial Rites, she has based this one on a real occurence, this time in early 19th century Ireland. There are similarities in the works in that the society is primitive, surviving hand to mouth from one potato harvest to the next, supplementing their income by selling eggs from their chickens and milk and butter from their cow. Life is hard and conditions bleak, especially in winter when their huts and fires provide little shelter and heat. Belief in myths and su ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“The Good People are cunning when they are not merry. They do what pleases them because they serve neither God nor Devil, and no one can assure them of a place in Heaven or Hell. Not good enough to be saved, and not bad enough to be lost”

The Good People is the second novel by award-winning Australian author, Hannah Kent. It’s 1825, and Nora Leahy lives in a small mountain village near the Flesk River, about ten miles from Killarney. When John O’Donoghue and Peter O‘Connor, two men of the village
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Ireland: Q2 2018; The Good People Spoiler Thread 5 30 Jul 02, 2018 04:55AM  
Goodreads Ireland: Q2 2018 QIR: The Good People Discussion 13 56 May 21, 2018 03:11PM  
Hijas de Mary Wol...: Hablemos de... con spoilers 21 193 May 20, 2018 10:47AM  
Hijas de Mary Wol...: Nuestras frases favoritas 33 188 Jan 14, 2018 10:20AM  
Hijas de Mary Wol...: Hablemos de... sin spoilers 12 193 Dec 25, 2017 12:52PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Petro imperatorė (Petro imperatorė, #1)
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words
  • Panelės iš Laisvės alėjos
  • Silva Rerum
  • Brodeck
  • Boy Swallows Universe
  • Septintas susitikimas
  • Mano vardas - Marytė
  • Mātes piens
  • Miegančių drugelių tvirtovė
  • All Our Shimmering Skies
  • Женщины Лазаря
  • Fever
  • Sodas
  • The Yield
  • Silva Rerum III
  • Jasper Jones
  • Sugrįžti į Černobylį
See similar books…
Hannah Kent was born in Adelaide in 1985. Her first novel, the international bestseller, Burial Rites (2013), was translated into 30 languages and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) and the Guardian First Book Award. It won the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year, the Indie Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year and the Victorian Premier's Peopl ...more

Related Articles

Beheaded with an ax on a snow-covered hillside in 1830, Agnes Magnúsdóttir was the last person executed in Iceland, as told in the new historical...
87 likes · 30 comments
“How hidden the heart, Nance thought. How frightened we are of being known, and yet how desperately we long for it.” 21 likes
“Some folks are born different, Nance. They are born on the outside of things, with skin a little a thinner, eyes a little keener to what goes unnoticed by most. Their hearts swallow more blood than ordinary hearts; the river runs differently for them.” 12 likes
More quotes…