Thursday, April 26, 2012

Newes From the Dead

Newes From the Dead by Mary Hooper is a fictionalized account of an actual historical event. The nature of said event is so extremely interesting I couldn't help but want to read the book. In 1650 Oxford a young girl named Anne Green was hanged for infanticide (protesting her innocence). Her body was placed in a coffin and given to the University for dissection. Hours later while they were preparing to cut her up they realized she WASN'T DEAD. So they revived her instead.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Anne can't move a muscle, can't open her eyes, can't scream. She lies immobile in the darkness, unsure if she'd dead, terrified she's buried alive, haunted by her final memory—of being hanged. A maidservant falsely accused of infanticide in 1650 England and sent to the scaffold, Anne Green is trapped with her racing thoughts, her burning need to revisit the events—and the man—that led her to the gallows.
Meanwhile, a shy 18-year-old medical student attends his first dissection and notices something strange as the doctors prepare their tools . . . Did her eyelids just flutter? Could this corpse be alive?
Hooper did her research well. She talks in the afterward about it and the evidence she found of Anne's life. She filled in a lot of the holes with her imagination but there is certainly evidence to support her fictionalized account of what happened. The narrative alternates between Anne's first person account of what led her to be hanged and a third person narration, focusing on Robert the medical student, about what was going on around the dissection table at the time. I wasn't a big fan of Anne's characterization, but found it to be believable. The fascinating part of the story for me was in the history and details from the proceedings in the dissection room. This is a quick and short read. If  you are interested in history at all it might be one you want to check to out as it does an excellent job of detailing the time period in an informative and engrossing manner.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure if this book is for me but wow, that's such an interesting premise. A bit creepy but very intriguing.