“In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdøttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover. Agnes is sent to wait out her final months on the farm of district office Jøn Jønsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Tøti, the young assistant priest appointed Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’s story begins to emerge and with it the family’s terrible realization that all is not as they had assumed.”
This book features beautifully descriptive writing, and is very atmospheric in setting. A good book to discuss for a book group, it is interesting in its historical context, feminism and the role of women in Icelandic society and has a variety of strong and very different characters.
Recommendation: Do not be put off by the title or subject. The story is poignant, but not distressing. This is a beautifully written book.