County Kerry, Ireland, 1825.
Nóra, bereft after the sudden death of her beloved husband, finds herself alone and caring for her young grandson Micheál. Micheál cannot speak and cannot walk and Nóra is desperate to know what is wrong with him. What happened to the healthy, happy grandson she met when her daughter was still alive?
Mary arrives in the valley to help Nóra just as the whispers are spreading: the stories of unexplained misfortunes, of illnesses, and the rumours that Micheál is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley.
Nance’s knowledge keeps her apart. To the new priest, she is a threat, but to the valley people she is a wanderer, a healer. Nance knows how to use the plants and berries of the woodland; she understands the magic in the old ways. And she might be able to help Micheál.
As these three women are drawn together in the hope of restoring Micheál, their world of folklore and belief, of ritual and stories, tightens around them. It will lead them down a dangerous path, and force them to question everything they have ever known.
I read this novel as my BookBum Club book for February! Check out this page to find out more about my very own Book Club!
This is my first Hannah Kent novel, and I absolutely loved it! As far as Historical Fiction goes, it’s not the best I’ve ever read, but I always have a soft spot for it, so it always gets a good rating from me!
I really enjoyed this story, even though it honestly doesn’t feel like an awful lots happens until right at the end. Kent is so good at transporting you into her story that you feel as though you are living with the characters.
This novel is set in Ireland in 1825, filled with small village life, religion, and superstitions. Kent is really good at weaving a beautiful story that sucks you right into the early 1800’s. You’re instantly immersed in the villagers lives, and especially Nora’s misfortune and troubles.
Characters in this one are stunningly done. There are three main characters we follow closely throughout, Nora, Mary, and Nance. It’s amazing how easy it was to get to know them, and how easily you can feel so many different emotions with and for them.
In terms of story, I did think this one was going to be that little bit more fast paced and have more elements of a mystery, but even without those two things, this is still a terrific read! I do really love a slow paced historical fiction, even ones like these where it doesn’t feel like much is actually happening in the book. This is definitely more of a character study kind of book, rather than plot driven book.
Overall, I really liked this one! I’m sorry the review is short but I honestly don’t really know how to review this other than saying it’s beautiful, fantastically well written, and pretty emotional (I cried at the end)! Definitely pick this up if you’re looking for a slow drama.
Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.