May 2 2013
“this is my book and i am writing it in my own hand.
in this year of our lord eighteen hundred and thirty one i am reached the age of fifteen and i
am sitting by my window and i can see many things”
The four seasons of one year are vividly portrayed in the words of Mary, who starts off the year as an illiterate farm girl. She is taken from the harsh environs of her family farm and is made to work for the local minister and his ailing wife. Mary has only ever known hard work and poverty but her strength of will and determination to survive is paramount and even though life throws her a raw deal, it is her ability to speak her mind, which is at the heart of this beautifully written novella.
At first the composition, which is narrated in Mary’s own words takes some getting used to and the lack of proper punctuation can be a little disconcerting, but putting this to one side, what really comes through is Mary’s voice, and as her tale unfolds, I found that her voice became incredibly moving.
In many respects this is a quick read but it’s certainly not light on content. I found Mary to be a feisty heroine and I grew too really like and respect her. The dénouement when it comes is profoundly shocking and will stay with me for a long time.
My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books (UK) for my copy of this book