Author: Hannah Kent
Genre: Literary/Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 3rd February 2022
1836, Prussia. Hanne is nearly fifteen and the domestic world of womanhood is quickly closing in on her. A child of nature, she yearns instead for the rush of the river, the wind dancing around her. Hanne finds little comfort in the local girls and friendship doesn’t come easily, until she meets Thea and she finds in her a kindred spirit and finally, acceptance.
Hanne’s family are Old Lutherans, and in her small village hushed worship is done secretly – this is a community under threat. But when they are granted safe passage to Australia, the community rejoices: at last a place they can pray without fear, a permanent home. Freedom.
It’s a promise of freedom that will have devastating consequences for Hanne and Thea, but, on that long and brutal journey, their bond proves too strong for even nature to break . . .
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is one of my all time favourite books so I was thrilled to be reading more of her amazing writing. I was expecting Devotion to be excellent but it managed to surpass even my highest expectations. The story follows Hanne, a young woman living in Prussia in 1836. She feels out of place and uncomfortable around the other girls in her community but when a new family arrives with a daughter Hanne’s age named Thea, they form an instant and unbreakable bond. They live in a small community of Old Lutherans, however their ability to freely worship is under constant threat and when a chance for the community to sail to Australia arises, they embark on a long and arduous sea journey. On this journey events unfold that test the love between Hanne and Thea.
I really cannot express how stunning this book is. The writing is astoundingly beautiful with striking and passionate imagery that is both celebratory and heartbreaking. Kent’s prose is truly phenomenal – especially concerning nature and the elements. There is such a gorgeous lyricism to her words which also somehow manage to be simultaneously forceful and delicate. The relationship between Hanne and Thea is truly magical – gentle and fragile yet so full of deeply felt love. I don’t want to give anything away about the direction this story takes but I will say it took a path I wasn’t expecting, but which managed to create an even more heart wrenchingly emotional reading experience. I could not recommend Devotion any more highly and it will definitely be one of my favourites of the year. Read this one now – I can promise you won’t regret it!
I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.
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