Hannah Kent’s Devotion is one of my favourite reads for this year. It’s historical fiction, beginning in Prussia in 1836 and continuing with an ocean journey to South Australia.
It’s the story of Hanne, a fifteen-year-old girl who feels she is a disappointment to her mother as she’s not quite ready to think about marriage, and she’s not like the other girls her age who are already planning their married futures.
When she meets Thea, she no longer feels so alone. She’s grateful Thea and her family, like the rest of their Old Lutheran community, have made the decision to leave Prussia for Australia in order to practise their faith without fear of persecution.
I was halfway through reading Devotion one night when I read a few pages and decided that what I was reading was too impossible to comprehend. Clearly, I was exhausted and I should put the book down and go to sleep.
When I continued reading the following night, I realised that I had not misread the previous chapter. No spoilers here but goodness, that section was breathtaking!
Kent’s writing is lyrical and evocative –
Now. years later, sitting on the lip of this valley, I can make prayer beads of the trees that crown me, the small living things glimpsed if I am still and silent. Red gum, blue gum, quandong, stringy bark. And the birds, ever here, ever singing, a liturgy to govern the hours towards gods of cry and shriek and call.
Devotion was my suggestion for our bookclub – I’m sure other bookclubs would enjoy reading it, too. It is also a beautiful-looking book with a textured, linen-like cover and an embossed design, like the whitework Hanne’s mother teaches her. It’ll be a book I’ll read again in a couple of years.
And the winners from last week’s giveaway are:
- Vanessa – How to bee
- Kathy – The beast’s garden
- Kristine – Elsewhere girls
Congratulations to all the winners – I’ll be in touch!