Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

About the book

Sometimes I whisper it over to myself: Murderess. Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt along the floor.’ Grace Marks. Female fiend? Femme fatale? Or weak and unwilling victim? Around the true story of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the 1840s, Margaret Atwood has created an extraordinarily potent tale of sexuality, cruelty and mystery.

Reviewed by Jennie’s Friends reading group:

An intriguing book, which led to a long discussion and divided opinions on whether Grace was guilty or innocent. We are still divided and feel if we were on the jury we might feel we had to say innocent but have grave doubts.

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22 thoughts on “Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood”

  1. Review by Atlee and District U3A reading group:
    At least half of group enjoyed this book. Whether Grace was guilty of the crime of murder we are still undecided. Her life before the murders was very hard, the details of the asylum and the prisons were horrific. Her account of murders was contradictory.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by Atlee and District U3A reading group:
    At least half of group enjoyed this book. Whether Grace was guilty of the crime of murder we are still undecided. Her life before the murders was very hard, the details of the asylum and the prisons were horrific. Her account of murders was contradictory.
    Star rating: ***

  3. Review by Abbots Ann Reading Circle:
    Difficult to get into. Journey to Canada very good. Quilt references interesting. Those who could persevere with the book to finish it, enjoyed it.
    Star rating: None shown

  4. Review by Abbots Ann Reading Circle:
    Difficult to get into. Journey to Canada very good. Quilt references interesting. Those who could persevere with the book to finish it, enjoyed it.
    Star rating: None shown

  5. Review by BBC reading group:
    We found it a cleverly constructed book with good reflections on its times and the philosophy of life and excellent characterisations. We found the ending a bit ‘contrived’.
    Star rating: ****

  6. Review by BBC reading group:
    We found it a cleverly constructed book with good reflections on its times and the philosophy of life and excellent characterisations. We found the ending a bit ‘contrived’.
    Star rating: ****

  7. Review by All Saints, Botley Reading Group:
    Views within the group differed wildly. Some found it long winded and others were disappointed that we never did get to know Grace’s guilt or innocence. Others loved the descriptions and the clever device of Grace telling her life story to Dr Jordan. Overall a fascinating flight of imagination. Atwood keeps us guessing until the end – and beyond.
    Star rating: ***

  8. Review by All Saints, Botley Reading Group:
    Views within the group differed wildly. Some found it long winded and others were disappointed that we never did get to know Grace’s guilt or innocence. Others loved the descriptions and the clever device of Grace telling her life story to Dr Jordan. Overall a fascinating flight of imagination. Atwood keeps us guessing until the end – and beyond.
    Star rating: ***

  9. Review by Southampton U3A reading group:
    A well written, interesting book with a lot of detailed social history based on a true story of a murder which took place in the early 19th Century in Canada
    Star rating: ***

  10. Review by Chandlers Ford Wednesday Reading Group:
    Interesting on several levels with historical reference. Lots of twists in plot. Liked the reference to the patchwork blocks. Disappointing ending.
    Star rating: ***

  11. Review by Chandlers Ford Wednesday Reading Group:
    Interesting on several levels with historical reference. Lots of twists in plot. Liked the reference to the patchwork blocks. Disappointing ending.
    Star rating: ***

  12. Review by Shipton Bellinger WI reading group:
    Atwood weaves a story around Grace, convicted of murder in 1840’s Canada. An upstairs/downstairs world is opened to us. All agreed that it is beautifully written but the group was divided between those who liked it and those who didn’t. That said Alias Grace did provoke plenty of discussion.
    Star rating: ***

  13. Review by Redhouse Reading Group:
    Full of suspense – did she, didn’t she? We thoroughly enjoyed the detailed account of life in the mid 19th Century, but were all men as lascivious and bad as those encountered by Grace?
    Star rating: ***

  14. Review by Redhouse Reading Group:
    Full of suspense – did she, didn’t she? We thoroughly enjoyed the detailed account of life in the mid 19th Century, but were all men as lascivious and bad as those encountered by Grace?
    Star rating: ***

  15. Review by Bookworms reading group:
    Enjoyed by everybody. Based on a true story of murder in the 1840’s. Margaret Atwood beautifully develops the characters. She uses poetry from the time to give a flavour of the period. As the book continues you’re drawn into the mystery – was she a murderess (answered in the last pages). We all want to read more Atwood!
    Star rating: ****

  16. Review by October Books Reading Group:
    Not always easy to follow the several narrative voices, but well worth the effort of persevering. The characters are well drawn with the psychiatrist’s personal life providing an interesting contrast to Grace’s story. Despite the length of the book the reader’s attention is held up to the end. Also an interesting insight into the work of the medical profession 150 years ago.
    Star rating: ***

  17. Review by October Books Reading Group:
    Not always easy to follow the several narrative voices, but well worth the effort of persevering. The characters are well drawn with the psychiatrist’s personal life providing an interesting contrast to Grace’s story. Despite the length of the book the reader’s attention is held up to the end. Also an interesting insight into the work of the medical profession 150 years ago.
    Star rating: ***

  18. Review by Tuesday Crew Reading Group:
    An intelligent read, will make you think. Good for a book club, lots to talk about. Slow to get going – some of us then found it gripping.
    Star rating: ***

  19. Review by Tuesday Crew Reading Group:
    An intelligent read, will make you think. Good for a book club, lots to talk about. Slow to get going – some of us then found it gripping.
    Star rating: ***

  20. Review by Parish Pump
    The majority were discouraged by the style and substance. However one member did read the book and quite enjoyed it.
    Star rating **

  21. Review by Alverstoke Ladies Group
    Wonderful language and descriptions. Generally well enjoyed and generated much discussion.
    Star rating ***

  22. Review by Alverstoke Ladies Group
    Wonderful language and descriptions. Generally well enjoyed and generated much discussion.
    Star rating ***

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