12 December, 2017

REVIEW: ALIAS GRACE by Margaret Atwood

Title: Alias Grace
Author: Margaret Atwood
Series: -
Genres: Mystery, Historical, Crime
Publisher:  Doubleday Nan A. Tales
Release: 1996
Source: Kindle/ Audiobook
Pages: 468

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It's 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.

An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories?

EXPECTATIONS: I loved The Handmaid's Tale, so for this my expectations were also high. I Googled a little about who and what Grace Marks was and her life, and when I realized this was actually a historical fiction book I was sold!!!

THE WORLD: The world is set in the 19th century, around 1843 or so in Canada. I have to say, this is very different world then Jane Austen or the beautiful Victorian movies we see with rich people and their pretty yet difficult lives. This world is rough and difficult and simple people don't think about pretty things or dreams, they think (as Grace says in the book), to have better breakfast then they had today.

CHARACTERS: We kind of have two main characters in this book - Grace Marks and Simon Jordan, since the book is told from their lives.

Grace is a 24 year old Irish immigrants, who came to Canada in seek for a better life. She has numerous brothers and sister, a dead mother and a drunk for a father, so she is basically on her own trying to survive as a maid in various houses. She can read, she is curious yet naive about the world. I have to say her character fascinated me truly. She was such a child, yet had the experience and the heavy burden of the world on her shoulders. As the plot goes, Grace is accused of murdering her master and his mistress, the house-lady and when we meet Grace she has already spent about 8 years in prison. Simon Jordan - an American psychologist comes to investigate Grace's state of mind since people fear she might be losing her mind in the prison, while others believe she is faking it to get out. Simon is wealthy, he is from a good family, we get to meet his mother from her letters to him. I liked Simon, he was a man of science, yet he too had demons - for spoiler purposes I won't tell you.

Simon and Grace have this trusted relationship, where Grace tells him about her life until this very moment so we get to see how she grew up, came to Canada, got a job and how the murders Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery happened. I liked these two characters too, I think honestly, all characters were very well written. They were multidimensional, interesting, they developed certain skills with everything happening to them.

James McDermott was also a servent in the Kinnear house and he together with Grace were both accused of committing the murder. Now this guy was a villain, really.

ROMANCE: Grace slowly takes over Simon's mind, he clearly has dreams about her but I think it wasn't love - I think he was just invested in her case too much. so he became obsessed. If Grace liked Simon, I don't know.

GOOD: I loved that this book featured real fragments of the confession, the witness testimony and so on, from the real trial. Also I liked how neuro-hypnotist is performed on Grace to retrieve her memories so everyone would know, if she was just an accomplice to the crimes or she committed them with James.

Also the book itself had a good vibe. I mean the vibe of a real book, of something you will read and not forget. I like this vibe!

BAD: At times it was too long. It went into too much detail about certain side hobbies or happenings that accrued.

OVERALL: In all honesty, I don't know if Grace Marks was guilty or not. Sometimes it seemed she was, others it seemed she wasn't, she was just scared 16-year old girl when everything happened so I can't say. Let me know what you think!

What do you think about ALIAS GRACE?



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