Agnes Magnusdottir was the last person to be executed in Iceland, in 1828, convicted for her role in the murders of two men. Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent (Back Bay Books, 2014), imagines Agnes’s last months of life, housed with a farming family near the site of execution. As the story develops, we learn a lot about Agnes, what her life has been like, and about her role in the murders.
Brilliantly plotted, Burial Rites confounds our expectations and delivers fascinating, fully developed characters. Not your run of the mill who-done-it by any means, but a thoughtful, heart-rending account of life and death in Iceland in the 1820s.
$7.50 at The Book Shop