In 1843, sixteen year-old servant girl Grace Marks is spared from hanging because of her young age (unlike her presumed accomplice James McDermott) and instead convicted to life imprisonment for a double murder she doesn’t remember committing. As her sanity is in question, she spends some time in a mental asylum before being transferred to Kingston penitentiary and some years later, is visited by a young doctor eager to advance himself in the growing field of treatment for the mentally ill. The book centres around Grace’s narration to Doctor Jordan—both verbally and in her own mind—describing her life, from a difficult childhood in Ireland, emigration to Canada and experiences as a maid, having been forced to work from the age of thirteen, and leading up to the day of the murders and subsequent capture with James McDermott, her alleged paramour. There is no question that Margaret Atwood is a master at her craft, and here she takes a true event—Grace Marks was widely known in her time as a notorious murderess—and filling in the details, manages to make Grace’s description of her daily life and chores a compelling and captivating read. No small feat! I loved this book, my only reservation being that I guessed at the dénouement from the beginning and was hoping for a twist in the end which never came for me. Still, a very satisfying read which I recommend wholeheartedly.