Title: Newes From The Dead
Author: Mary Hooper
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 Star (3.5)
WRONGED. HANGED. ALIVE? (AND TRUE!)
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?
Beautifully written, impossible to put down, and meticulously researched, Newes from the Dead is based on the true story of the real Anne Green, a servant who survived a hanging to awaken on the dissection table. Newes from the Dead concludes with scans of the original 1651 document that recounts this chilling medical phenomenon.
Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
The things that got me into this story was the fact that is was supposedly at least based off of a true story. I mean, what could be more exciting to read about? The idea of a woman ‘waking up’ after being hanged but not being able to move and listening to people discussing who was going to cut what sections of her. That is scary stuff!
I really liked the way the story was written/told. I am pretty sure I have mentioned it before, but I love stories that have a lot of backstory that just adds to whatever is happening in the present. This story is mostly backstory and I loved it. We get little snippets of Anne on the table trying in vain to make someone notice that she is still alive and that they should not be chopping her up. But what made her go to the noose to begin with? This is what the story mostly deals with.
However, I did feel there was a lack of suspense to the story. Not at any point did I really feel like Anne was going to be cut up, but in the past sections I did feel suspenseful because I knew where she was heading, and with every step she made she was drawing closer and closer to that fate. I think one thing that kept the doctor sections from being suspenseful was the fact they just dragged a little. If half of these sections were removed from the book, you would not have even noticed. You could feel the way the author was trying to by time until the big reveal at the end.
I think the author did a very good job and portraying the time period in which the story takes place. Peoples actions, the way they treated each other and just general ways they acted was very true to how things would have gone down back in the day.
I rather enjoyed the characters, but Anne and Robert were the only two that I found to have much depth to them. These two developed throughout the book while others didn’t. I did however find Anne to be deeply stupid, and at the end she seemed to have done a one-eighty on her personality and thought of herself as a queen. Both of these things I can understand though.
Here comes the tricky part for me. I don’t really know if I would recommend this book to anyone. I liked it, but its not really the sort of book I would hand to people to read. I suppose if you have heard about Anne Green and her story interests you, then this might be something you should pick up. It has its issues, but Mary did try really hard to portray the story in the most accurate way.
Till Next Time…