Unburnable: A Novel by Marie-Elena John
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Decades ago, in the 1940s, a woman by the name of Matilda was hung for murder on the lush, green island of Dominica. Her story became the stuff of chante mas songs, songs sung during the pre-Lenten Masquerade and known to everyone.
Now, her grand-daughter, born in Dominica but partially raised in the United States, is back to discover the real story behind Matilda’s execution. Was Matilda really an Obeah woman with the power to heal as well as to kill? How did Matilda’s daughter, Lillian’s own mother, the beautiful Iris, lose her mind? To whom did the bones hidden in the forested mountains really belong?
Unburnable weaves together the lives of three women, Matilda, Iris and Lillian, into one amazing story of love, betrayal, murder, madness and loss, all against the background of the rich cultural history of Dominica. The vivid descriptions of the dresses, the costumes, the masquerades and the customs of the island make Unburnable a rich feast for the senses.
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