Wednesday 3 November 2021

Book Review: Devotion by Hannah Kent (Historical Fiction/LGBT)

Title: Devotion
Author: Hannah Kent
Publisher: Picador Australia (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Publication Date: 26 October 2021
Format: Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction LGBT
Source: ARC from Publisher

Prussia, 1836

Hanne Nussbaum is a child of nature - she would rather run wild in the forest than conform to the limitations of womanhood. In her village of Kay, Hanne is friendless and considered an oddity...until she meets Thea.

Ocean, 1838

The Nussbaums are Old Lutherans, bound by God's law and at odds with their King's order for reform. Forced to flee religious persecution the families of Kay board a crowded, disease-riddled ship bound for the new colony of South Australia. In the face of brutal hardship, the beauty of whale song enters Hanne's heart, along with the miracle of her love for Thea. Theirs is a bond that nothing can break.

The whale passed. The music faded.

South Australia, 1838

A new start in an old land. God, society and nature itself decree Hanne and Thea cannot be together. But within the devotion.


Having enjoyed both of Hannah Kent's previous works, I was keen to see what Devotion had to offer. Overall, it was an enjoyable and emotional read. Kent's prose is always a delight -- lyrical and powerful. It draws you in with beautiful, impactful description. Hanne was a wonderful character and a compelling narrator, and, as a fantasy fan, I had no issue with the paranormal twist partway through the story. I am giving this work a solid four stars. It was enjoyable on many levels and is a book I am glad I read, but unlike Burial Rites, or even The Good People, I don't see myself returning to reread it, as it didn't grip me to that extent, perhaps because of the heavy religious aspects which didn't resonate with me. If you've read Kent's previous works and enjoyed them, I am sure you will like Devotion too. If you are new to her writing, I would recommend starting with Burial Rites.

I received this book as a free ARC from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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