The Good People by Hannah Kent
First Line: Nora’s first thought when they brought her the body was that it could not be her husband’s.
Summary: In a small village in Ireland in the early 1800s lived three women. Nora a recent widow, her maid, Mary and the local healer, Nance. When bad luck starts to befall the village, the people look for someone to blame. Is the healer responsible for the cows not giving milk? Did the mysterious child living with the widow cause the death of his grandfather? Or is it the fairies? During a cold winter, suspicion and fear cause the people to turn on these women.
Highlights: Beautifully written! I felt like I was living in the world. I could feel the dirt, hear the screams, and smell the pipe smoke. It is fascinating to read stories based on true events. This one is filled with the folklore of the poor in rural Ireland. The fact that people believed that a child who was sick or disabled was actually a changeling (a fairy) is astounding. This book has to be read considering the context. To modern day standards it seems ridiculous but to the people of the time it made complete sense. Science was not as far advanced. People were not taught to read. Many never left their villages. The whole time I was hoping for a happy ending even though knowing it will never happen.
Lowlights: The story started out slow as it was building to the main theme. I kept wondering when the plot described in the summary was going to begin but when it did, I was pulled into this world. I was very sad about the ending but also pleased with the outcome.
FYI: Read with an idea that these were not modern times. This is a great lesson in how not that long ago we were burning witches and believing in fairies rather than science and facts.