Aussie Author Challenge Australian Women Writers Book Reviews

Book Review: The Good People by Hannah Kent #AusRead17 #AWW2017

In 1820s Ireland, Nora Leahy‘s husband Martin, drops dead for no apparent reason at the crossroads where people who suicide are buried. Nora is devastated as this is not too long after the sudden death of her only daughter. Nora is left to care alone for her disabled grandson, Michael. Michael was born a healthy child and was observed to walk and talk when he was two-years-old. However, as a four-year-old, he has regressed. He no longer speaks, cannot walk or do anything independently. He wails through the night, soils himself and his head lolls on his shoulders. Nora hires help from outside the village and brings in young Mary Clifford who is initially shocked at Michael’s presentation.

Apart from Martin’s death and Michael’s regression, other inexplicable things occur in the village. A child is stillborn, cows stop giving milk and hens cease to lay eggs, a woman sets herself on fire. Some of the villagers seek the assistance of Nance Roche – an old lady believed to have the gift of healing using herbs and plants but also knowledgeable of the ways of The Good People.

After the doctor and priest fail to heal Michael, Nora seeks Nance’s help to cure him. They believe he has been taken by The Good People and replaced by one of the fairies. In order to bring the real Michael back, a series of spiritual acts must be followed. Mary however, becomes sceptical of these as well as Nora’s treatment of Michael.

Can Nance bring Michael back from The Good People?

And what exactly is happening in this village?

Kent’s second novel is just as intriguing as her first. She has the Irish setting down perfectly and the grim environment seeps through the words. While the entire village is superstitious, it’s not hard to believe them nor does it come across as being judgemental or satirical in any way. Kent manages to make the reader empathise with Nora, Mary, Michael and even Nance despite them having different struggles and sometimes, contradictory ones. She makes you want to turn the pages to learn more and to find out what happens to Michael. I’m not someone who often reads historical fiction but ever since I read her first book, Burial Rites, for my book club some years ago, I knew her books would hook me.

My rating:

***Read and reviewed for the 2017 Aussie Author Challenge and the 2017 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Also linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger Challenge, Denyse for Life this week and Alicia for Open Slather***

Until next time,

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  • sulekha
    9 October 2017 at 6:54 am

    OMG, this is such an intriguing tale! I too don’t read historical fiction but this book is calling out to me. Thanks for such a lovely review.

  • Lydia C. Lee
    9 October 2017 at 8:41 am

    We did Burial Rites for book club and everyone loved it. Not read anything else of hers. Sound’s interesting.

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    9 October 2017 at 9:24 am

    Sounds interesting!

  • Jo Tracey
    9 October 2017 at 9:26 am

    I’ve wondered about this book since hearing her talk about it on a couple of podcasts. She did a reading from it in the Sydney Writers Festival talk (on podcast) & it was beautiful.

  • Ness
    9 October 2017 at 9:32 am

    Hmmmm interesting but not sure it’s my thing. I have such a long list of books I want to read I tend to be picky these days!

  • Vanessa
    9 October 2017 at 11:22 am

    It sounds like they walked a really challenging line with the topic and got it right!
    Vanessa recently posted…To Swear Or Not To Swear?My Profile

  • Bron @four2adore
    9 October 2017 at 2:03 pm

    What an interesting plot! I’m definitely going to check out this book from my local library.

    9 October 2017 at 2:21 pm

    This sounds pretty intriguing and full of suspense and drama- thanks for sharing the review Sanch. I simply love the selection of books you present on your blog – very different and compelling too!!!

  • Leo
    9 October 2017 at 3:37 pm

    I don’t know if I can procure a copy of this or her first book, but will give it a try some day 🙂 The events that happen are interesting, and that itself might be a reason for the story being engaging too!
    Leo recently posted…Almost terminal…My Profile

  • Sydney Shop Girl
    9 October 2017 at 7:03 pm

    I had so much trouble trying to follow Burial Rights so as interesting as this sounds, might not be for me right now.
    SSG xxx

  • Denyse
    10 October 2017 at 10:06 am

    I haven’t been reading anything like this but it sure does sound interesting and many people here agree. Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek 39/52. Next week: Letter to My 20 year old Self.

  • Deepa
    10 October 2017 at 4:48 pm

    This looks like an interesting book. Thanks for the review. I will surely check it out.

  • Surbhi Prapanna
    11 October 2017 at 6:36 am

    Sounds interesting, though I had not get a chance to read a novel since past few years, I would definitely try to check it out. thanks for sharing a beautiful review.

  • Alicia O'Brien
    11 October 2017 at 2:51 pm

    This book sounds really intriguing! I have to start writing titles down because when I get to the library I am completely lost with what to choose.
    Alicia O’Brien recently posted…Seven salads to make this seasonMy Profile

  • Suzy
    11 October 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Sounds intriguing but a tad sinister. I guess I’ll have to read it if I want to know what happens. Thanks for sharing
    Suzy recently posted…You are the Universe … #writebravely #WriteTribeProBlogger #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  • Shilpa Gupte
    11 October 2017 at 9:30 pm

    That must be one engaging story, Sanch! I have never read historical fiction, but I think now I should give it a try. if I find the book, that is.
    Loved your review!

  • May
    27 October 2017 at 7:34 am

    Great review. Great book. I felt the author got the landscape, folklore and whimsy down pat.

  • Anami
    29 October 2017 at 12:08 am

    Interesting !!
    Anami recently posted…The Song UnsungMy Profile