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NEWES FROM THE DEAD By:Mary Hooper January 30, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading, Uncategorized.
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     Here is a fictional account based on a true story that takes place mostly in that mysterious corridor between life and death. In 1650, Anne Green, a servant girl, is seduced and impregnated by her employer’s lecherous son. She hides her pregnancy for months, finally miscarries in a filthy privy, and when the baby is found, is accused of killing it. She is tried, hanged, awakes in her coffin, and the narration of her story is told through her thoughts, as she is unable to move. Her body, that of a criminal, had been donated to further medical research, and while on the dissection table,  a tiny flicker of her eyes is detected by a stuttering medical student. This nervous student’s own story is woven through the book between Anne’s memories, and adds considerably to the stark, uncensored look into this Puritan era.  The dissectioners, being doctors first, and dedicated to saving lives, opt to revive Anne instead of dissecting her.

      This is wonderful historical fiction that clearly exhibits the injustices of that time toward women, and toward the lower classes in general, and gives readers a generous taste of the period. It is a young adult novel, one intended for grades 8 and up, and I have included it as a prime example of why one must never assume they should stay in defined territories, such as the realm of adult books if one is of a certain age, when it comes to reading. An added delight is that, at the end of this book, is a copy of the actual NEWES OF THE DEAD, a sensational pamphlet circulated in 1650 England that told Anne’s story to the public.

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