Based on a true story, Burial Rites is the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, a woman convicted of murdering her employer and another man in Iceland in 1828. With nowhere to house her while waiting to be executed, Agnes is sent to live with a family in a small village. At first, everyone is afraid and Agnes is completely shunned by the townspeople, except for a minister who visits to help her find her "spiritual path" before she dies. This is when we learn about Agnes's past and how this has affected what has happened in her life.
Now I know this sounds like a terribly sad book (which in a way it is) but the character of Agnes is so interesting and complex that you begin to hope that this poor woman is shown mercy. But of course, the law had a different opinion.
If you enjoy novels that read more like non-fiction and if you like books set in unique time periods and places, then this well-written tale should appeal to you.
Read-alike author: Annie Proulx