Just a middle-brow reader who loves a good story, recipe or how-to.
Every bit of praise I read/heard for this book prior to reading it proved to be very much deserved. It is well written and the author excels at evoking the atmosphere of the place and time. What wasn't mentioned is just how grim and desolate that atmosphere was.
What came through most for me was the bleakness of both life and landscape in 1829 Iceland, especially for someone in Agnes' circumstances. As Agnes tells the story of her life and how she came to be sentenced to death for the murder of her employer, she expresses moments where she experienced joy, but these are rare.
This may be her first published novel, but I have trouble considering Hannah Kent to be a first time author. The research seems impeccable, the characters believable and the story is deeply affecting as a whole.