#AprilAtoZ Challenge B -Burial Rites by Hannah Kent


#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

The blogging from A to Z April Challenge is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

My theme is Book Reviews. I will be posting reviews for every day of the alphabet.


Burial Rites is a first novel, based on an actual event in Iceland in 1829. A man and woman faced execution for a murder that occurred on an isolated farm. There were no prisons in Iceland at this time, so the young woman, Agnes Magnusdottir, was kept at a farm where she had lived in her earlier years. The farmer and his wife were her guards during the long dark winter before her execution.

The family are horrified at being forced to house a murderer, and at first ignore Agnes, while going about their daily life. But as Agnes’s date with death comes closer, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story that they have heard.

My thoughts

Kent had me hooked from her opening sentence on page one: They said I must die. They said that I stole the breath from the men, and now they must steal mine”

This book is definitely not a light, happy, read. The actual event covered in this story, is well known and well documented in Iceland. It is considered to be a dark event in their history.  This novel is about the sad and dark story of Agnes, and her wait for execution during the long long Icelandic winter. There is very little happiness for Agnes as she waits.


Before I read this book, I had expected it to be so bleak that it would be an impossible enjoyable read. But enjoy it I did. I had never previously heard of the true story of Agnes. and Kent had me feeling very sad and without hope for her.

There are multiple narrators to the story and Agnes also speaks to the reader in the first person. I found myself reading her sentences over and over, as they were so beautifully written and poignant.

I have read this book twice, and listened to it once on audio. I never tire of reading and hearing Hannah Kent’s beautiful words that evoke perfectly, the darkness of a long, dark Icelandic winter.

My Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Barry Award Nominee for Best First Novel (2014)
Guardian First Book Award Nominee (2013)
Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for People’s Choice (2014)
Davitt Award for Debut Novel (2013)
Australian Independent Booksellers Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction (2014)
Australian Book Industry Award for Literary Fiction (2014)
Women’s Prize for Fiction Nominee (2014)
The Stella Prize Nominee for Shortlist (2014)
Specsavers National Book Award Nominee for International Author of the Year (2014)
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction (2013)
International Dublin Literary Award Nominee for Shortlist (2015)

About The Author

Hannah Kent


Hannah Kent was born in Adelaide in 1985.  Burial Rites is her first novel and has been translated into over 30 languages and won many awards. Hannah is also the co-founder and publishing director of Australian literary publication Kill Your Darlings



Published in 203 by Little Brown and Company – Hardcover 336 pages

Have you read this book. If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I promise to always reply to comments made in the section below.

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 Images: Goodreads

20 thoughts on “#AprilAtoZ Challenge B -Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

  1. I loved this book too Jennifer and your review is spot on! I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did and it’s one of my all time favourite books. Apparently Hannah was on a student exchange program when she heard of this story and decided to write the book. Loving your A-Z so far!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never heard of this book before, but it sounds really interesting. I’m fascinated by the idea of a book set in Iceland in the 19th century. I know very little about that period in Icelandic history so it would be interesting to read a book set then.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh I’ll have to add this one to my to be read list. I like books with a dark feel to them and this definitely sounds dark

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree that the opening lines are very strong, and you got me interested in the book, though I’m not sure whether I’m in the right mindset for such a bleak book.

    Liked by 1 person

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