catness: (reading)
Cat Gray ([personal profile] catness) wrote in [community profile] a_reader_is_me2014-03-31 10:51 pm

Book: My Name is Martha Brown by Nicola Thorne

Title: My Name is Martha Brown
Author: Nicola Thorne
Number of pages: 416
Genre: drama, historical
Book Number/Goal: 36/52
My Rating: 4/5

Martha Brown was a real person, hanged in 1856 for the murder of her husband. The book is her biography, starting from childhood. As she was an ordinary woman from a poor family, not much is known about her, so the biography is mostly fictional, describing the life in a typical English rural community - hardships and pleasures, but mostly hardships.

It reads like a classic novel (in fact, Martha Brown was an inspiration for Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy), but unlike genuine classics, it doesn't feel heavy and old-fashioned, and is easy to read. The tragic ending is known in advance, causing the sensation of fatality and impending doom as the reader helplessly watches Martha making one unfortunate choice after another, even though each choice seems like a good idea at the time.

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