Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood is the stunning fictionalized account of the real-life 1843 double murder of Thomas Kinnear and his mistress, Nancy Montgomery. Accused in the murders are two of Kinnear’s servants, James McDermott, a stable hand, and sixteen year old Grace Marks, a maid.
Margaret Atwood explores Victorian-era society, classes differences, attitudes toward women, mental health, and the spiritualist movement in this intriguing novel. There was much controversy and debate over the guilt or innocence of Grace Marks during the trial and after. Ms. Atwood’s novel continues the debate.

From the Publisher

In Alias Grace, bestselling author Margaret Atwood has written her most captivating, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying work since The Handmaid’s Tale. She takes us back in time and into the life of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century.

Read more . . .

Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.

Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances?

Anchor Random House

Book Club Party Ideas for Alias Grace


Decorate your 19th century table with a Heritage Lace Victorian Rose Tablecloth, a Victorian Candelabra, and a pretty vintage-looking vase filled with fresh flowers.


Grace took comfort in church hymns such as Abide With Me, Holy, Holy, Holy, and Rock of Ages.  Victorian Hymns by Craig Duncan is filled with the traditional hymns sung for over a hundred years.

Songs of the Isles-Ireland by John McDermott includes Rose of Tralee, Mary’s favorite song.

Book Club Menu for Alias Grace

Since the scenes in which food makes an appearance in Alias Grace aren’t what I consider appetizing or particularly festive, I decided to take my inspiration from the book’s setting: The Province of Upper Canada, present-day Southern Ontario.

Soft and Airy Classic Dinner Rolls

Ontario Parmesan Spinach Salad and Grilled Asparagus

Canadian Maple Syrup Chicken and Root Mash

Buttery Mini Tarts

Canadian Whisky Slush

Book Club Resources for Alias Grace

Ratings at the time this post was published

Goodreads: 3.96 stars (52,696 ratings)
Amazon: 4.3 stars (303 ratings)
LibraryThing:  3.93 stars (2,293 ratings)
My Rating: 4 stars Margaret Atwood is one of my all time favorite authors.  Atwood creates a dark and gloomy atmospheric novel.


Discussion Questions for Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Grace Marks and James McDermott

Alias Grace at favorite booksellers

Squares from some of my heirloom quilts

The Author

Margaret Atwood’s official website

Biography from

Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1939. She is the daughter of a forest entomologist, and spent part of her early years in the bush of North Quebec. She moved, at the age of seven, to Toronto. She studied at the University of Toronto, then took her masters degree at Radcliffe College, Massachusetts, in 1962.

Margaret Atwood is Canada’s most eminent novelist and poet, and also writes short stories, critical studies, screenplays, radio scripts and books for children, her works having been translated into over 30 languages. Click here to continue …

Awards for Margaret Atwood and Alias Grace

Other Works by Margaret Atwood