The Good People

The Good People

Book - 2016
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The fires on the hills smouldered orange as the women left, pockets charged with ashes to guard them from the night. Watching them fade into the grey fall of snow, Nance thought she could hear Maggie's voice. A whisper in the dark. "Some folk are born different, Nance. They are born on the outside of things, with a skin a little thinner, eyes a little keener to what goes unnoticed by most. Their hearts swallow more blood than ordinary hearts; the river runs differently for them." Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson, Micheál. The boy cannot walk, or speak, and Nora, mistrustful of the tongues of gossips, has kept the child hidden from those who might see in his deformity evidence of otherworldly interference. Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow's house. Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken...
Publisher: Sydney, New South Wales, Picador by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Limited,, 2016
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781743534908
Characteristics: 386 pages : map ; 24 cm.


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Literature_Lover Jan 29, 2017

Beautiful, haunting and thought-provoking. Read my full review in

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Oct 11, 2017

A work of fiction based on a true story. Set in the bogs of Ireland in the 1800s. An atmospheric tale of poverty, hopelessness, superstition, fairies, family and death. A bleak, unforgettable novel.

Literature_Lover Jan 29, 2017

Beautiful, haunting and thought-provoking. Read my full review in

Dec 22, 2016

Within three pages, this book had me hooked. The tone is formal and slightly archaic, with the dialogue unusual enough to reinforce that we are in a different world, but without lapsing into caricature. It is clearly deeply researched and, as a result, Kent has built up a self-contained folk world, where there is no division between the supernatural and the natural. It rings absolutely true. As a historian, this is historical fiction at its best: authentic to the mindset of the time, with no 21st century sensibility clumping in with heavy boots to make judgments about right and wrong.

I very much enjoyed this book, the tension of the scenario and the richness of the folk-world that she establishes so securely. Excellent.

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