Burial Rites by Hannah Kent


Publication Date: September 10th, 2013

This review does not contain ‘spoilers’.

Well, as much as I wanted to love this book and have heard so many good things about it, I ended up being a little bit disappointed by it. This is the fictional betrayal of the true story regarding Agnes Magnusdottir who was the last woman to be executed in Iceland during the 1800’s. Agnes was accused of brutally murdering Natan Ketilson and Petur Jonsson in March of 1828, and little is known as to what occurred the night of the murder or what actually happened. I commend Hannah Kent for being able to create a full story out of what little facts are known from the time, I couldn’t imagine that being an easy process. I can also see why people would really love this book. This story is extremely well written and you really get to feel the emotions of all the characters she writes about. I especially enjoyed reading from the members of the family Agnes stays with up until her execution.

The way that Iceland is written about in this book was also done exceptionally well. I have always been fascinated by Iceland, and in between periods that I would read this, I was also watching youtube videos all about Iceland. Needless to say that Iceland would be an amazing place to visit and extremely beautiful.

As to why I was somewhat disappointed? I just wanted more to the story. Nothing really happened. Agnes is sent to live with this family up until her execution date and nothing else really occurs after she arrives. Agnes goes into her back story and tells the truth about what happened the night of the murder to some of the family members, but I also became confused about some parts of her backstory as well. Unfortunately, I also thought some of the information that was given did little to nothing to add to the story. It took me forever to read this book just because I found it so slow going that I never wanted to pick it back up again once I had sat it down. I normally don’t have any problems with books that don’t have much plot, but maybe this book was just so overhyped for me that in the end I was disappointed.

I gave this book a 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads



5 thoughts on “Burial Rites by Hannah Kent”

  1. So sad you weren’t happy with this book in terms of the development of the story – I actually quite liked the quiet anticipation which then ended up being a quiet acceptance of what was going to happen. Really interesting take on this book. 😊


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