Historical Fiction

Sin Eater – Megan Campisi

1 May 2020
Sin Eater Book Cover Sin Eater
Megan Campisi
Atria Books
April 7, 2020

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alice in Wonderland in this gripping and imaginative historical novel about a shunned orphan girl in 16th-century England who is ensnared in a deadly royal plot and must turn her subjugation into her power. The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard The Sin Eater Walks Among Us. For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater—a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven. Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why.

“A keenly researched feminist arc of unexpected abundance, reckoning, intellect, and ferocious survival” (Maria Dahvana Headley, author of The Mere Wife)

Sin Eater is “a dark, rich story replete with humor, unforgettable characters, and arcane mysteries. It casts a spell on your heart and mind until the final page” (Jennie Melamed, author of Gather the Daughters).

Like many other readers, I was surprised to have learnt that Sin Eaters really existed that that they continued well into the beginning of the 20th century.

The story of a teenage orphaned girl who for a petty crime is forced to become a sin eater moved me deeply. The solitude and social isolation resulting from performing traditional ritual make her a protagonist I fully related to. The silence which is imposed upon her and the fact that she is accepted only by those rejected by the society make her an outsider, however, being intelligent and observant, May finds her ways to survive, to adapt and to become strong eventually.

A historical fiction that will stay with me for a long, long time.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley peter@thereadingdesk.com

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