Based on a notorious double murder in Canada in the1840's, the novel Alias Grace tells the story of a pretty 16 year-old servant girl who conspired with a ranch hand to kill their employer and his mistress and escape with their belongings. They were captured in several days, and later, in a much-publicized trial, found guilty of premeditated murder. The young man, James McDermott, was sentenced to death, and the girl, Grace Marks, narrowly escaped it.
Alias Grace begins after the murderess has served 8 years in prison. The death of Nancy Montgomery, Kinnear's housekeeper and mistress, has been disregarded as both villains had already been sentenced to death. Grace is around thirty years old, being accused of the crimes when she was only sixteen. Grace is in prison where she has been mentally tortured during her rotation from prison to asylum over time. Doctors who wish to "examine" her frequently visit. She now has a subconscious aversion to these doctors and the world which she knows. She has become accustomed to being silent and unseen.
A young doctor, Dr. Simon Jordan, has taken an interest in Grace. Dr. Jordan is from a wealthy family and of good name, but he is more interested in studying abroad about sanity and those enclosed in asylums rather than interest at home. He has little experience in dealing on a personal basis with the question of sanity of patients, but is intrigued by this fabulously sensationalized murderess. A group that has continuously tried for the pardon of Grace Marks has recruited the doctor with hopes that he will find Grace sane and innocent on all counts of murder.
Dr. Jordan's main purpose is to help recover the lost memory of the time during the murders. This memory which some to believe was conveniently forgotten helped convict her during the trial; almost as if she had admitted to the killings. During the course of his visits with Grace, Dr. Jordan encourages her to tell of her life before the murders. Grace begins...
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