“Newes From The Dead” by Mary Hooper
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
Anne can’t move a muscle, can’t open her eyes, can’t scream. She lies immobile in the darkness, unsure if she’d dead, terrified she’s buried alive, haunted by her final memory—of being hanged. A maidservant falsely accused of infanticide in 1650 England and sent to the scaffold, Anne Green is trapped with her racing thoughts, her burning need to revisit the events—and the man—that led her to the gallows.
Meanwhile, a shy 18-year-old medical student attends his first dissection and notices something strange as the doctors prepare their tools . . . Did her eyelids just flutter? Could this corpse be alive?
Wow. This was a powerful book. I think the fact that it’s based on a true story makes they story more chilling. I did take a while to warm up to the story. In fact I almost quit reading. The story starts out right after Anne was hanged. She’s left in nothingness thinking over her life and trying to figure out if she’s dead. Once she gets past that part and starts remembering what happened before she was hanged, the story gets interesting.
Anne tells us in her own words how she was seduced, gave birth, and was sentenced to be hanged. I found her story to be incredibly terrifying. You’re hearing it from her so you can feel what she’s going through. It’s also terrifying because it’s a reminder of how things used to be. Thinking about her story, there was pretty much nothing that she could have done to make things turn out differently. She was a female servant in the 1600’s. Her testimony meant absolutely nothing compared to a rich man’s testimony (even though everything he said was false).
Robert presents another side of the story. He tells the reader what’s happening while Anne is “dead”. He walks us through what’s happening before they try to dissect Anne. It’s pretty chilling that Anne would have been cut up while still technically alive if Robert hadn’t spoken up for her.
The bottom line? It’s a very interesting book.