Thursday, March 01, 2012
The Day She Cradled Me by Sacha de Bazin
This is a highly readable debut novel of the life of one of New Zealand’s most notorious criminals and the only woman ever to be hanged in this country.
Minnie Dean was sentenced to death after being found guilty of murdering the babies and children she was being paid to care for and de Bazin attempts to look beyond the myth of the notorious murderess to find a human being. For the most part she is successful. Minnie comes across as a woman determined to survive no matter what hardship she suffers but had I been on the jury I would have probably found her guilty too.
I found the most sympathetic character in the novel to be Reverend Lindsay, the vicar who risks alienating his parish by offering Minnie comfort in her last days. It’s an extremely accomplished debut novel and a wonderful work of historical fiction.
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