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message 1: by Joy D (new)

Joy D | 4611 comments The Good People by Hannah Kent - 4 stars

This is not a cheery book. I would not recommend it if you are currently depressed.

My review:

Historical fiction set in rural Ireland in 1825-1826 when many people still believed in folk remedies and fairies. The story revolves around three women, an herbal healer, a grandmother, and a teenage girl hired to care for the woman’s grandson. The grandmother’s husband and daughter have recently died, and she has taken in her four-year-old grandson. The grandson at one time was walking and talking, but now can do neither and requires constant care. The herbal healer tells the grandmother that her grandson was abducted by fairies and replaced with a changeling. The book made me glad that so much has changed since then, when people lacked understanding of the causes of mental illness and physical impairments.

Hannah Kent’s prose is beautifully expressive and atmospheric. I had previously read her first book, Burial Rites, and found it extremely well-crafted. This book, her second, continued her brilliant writing, but the plot and character development were not quite as compelling. It is slow in developing, and much of the action centers around the actions of people in a small town. It is obviously well-researched and is based on news articles of the day. Themes include grief, the lure of superstition, yearning for answers (especially those we want to hear), and external forces that impact lives. It provides food-for-thought, especially about how seemingly “good people” can act in malevolent ways. Contains child abuse and several scenes involving animals and folk rituals that some may find disturbing. Recommended to those who appreciate somber, foreboding tales or are interested in the folklore of Ireland in the 19th century. A lyrically-written novel with a strong sense of time and place and a dark (some might say depressing) tone.

Link to my Goodreads review:

message 2: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Hmmm...the premise sounds interesting but I am not sure I want to be depressed. I had Burial Rights on my TBR for a long time when it first came out, but I eventually removed it as well because I just wasn't getting to it...

message 3: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments I looooovvvvvveeeeeddddd Burial Rites. For some reason I’ve hesitated to read this one. I think it’s because I’m worried that it won’t live up to Burial Rites, but your review is encouraging.

message 4: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Darn it Susie. Now you have me second guessing Burial Rights again....

message 5: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Yes, I spelled that wrong....

message 6: by Joy D (new)

Joy D | 4611 comments I really enjoyed Burial Rites and gave it 5 stars. The writing in this one is similarly atmospheric. I would call them both tragedies.

Here's a link to my review of Burial Rites, in case it is helpful:

message 7: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments I didn’t like Burial Rites
The writing was fine and the idea was interesting, but I really disliked the main character and thought that she was built like someone that is too perfect and too much of a victim and it would have been more interesting to me if she was actually to blame. It ruined the contrast and clash between the locals and her and made her flat for me.
If she is anyways the misunderstood hero, then there’s no real challenge for the reader in accepting her - the way it is to the other characters.

Not sure if I’m explaining myself well, but I felt it was a bit black and white that way and I’d rather she wasn’t a saint

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