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Download Alias Grace: A Historical Fiction Based on Real Events

Alias Grace: A Novel and a Miniseries Based on a True Story

Alias Grace is a historical fiction novel by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, first published in 1996 by McClelland & Stewart. It won the Canadian Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The novel fictionalizes the notorious 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery by their servants James McDermott and Grace Marks in Canada West. The novel explores the mystery of Grace's involvement and guilt, as well as her life story as an Irish immigrant, a victim of abuse, and a prisoner. The novel also incorporates historical events, such as the 1837 Rebellion in Upper Canada, and myths, practices, and superstitions, such as quilting, hypnotism, and spiritualism.

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In 2017, Alias Grace was adapted into a six-part miniseries by Canadian actress and filmmaker Sarah Polley, who wrote the screenplay, and American director Mary Harron, who directed the episodes. The miniseries was co-produced by CBC Television in Canada and Netflix in the United States. It starred Sarah Gadon as Grace Marks, Edward Holcroft as Dr. Simon Jordan, Paul Gross as Thomas Kinnear, Anna Paquin as Nancy Montgomery, Rebecca Liddiard as Mary Whitney, Zachary Levi as Jeremiah Pontelli, Kerr Logan as James McDermott, David Cronenberg as Dr. Jerome DuPont, among others. The miniseries was critically acclaimed for its faithful adaptation, captivating performances, atmospheric cinematography, and feminist insights.

In this article, we will explore the historical background of Alias Grace, the novel by Margaret Atwood, the miniseries by Sarah Polley and Mary Harron, and their reception and impact on literature and culture. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about Alias Grace, and provide some links to download the novel and the miniseries.

The Historical Background of Alias Grace

The 1843 Murders of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery

Thomas Kinnear was a wealthy Scottish farmer who owned a large estate near Richmond Hill, Ontario. He lived with his housekeeper and mistress Nancy Montgomery, who was pregnant with his child. He also employed two servants, James McDermott, an Irish stable hand, and Grace Marks, an Irish maid. On July 23, 1843, McDermott and Marks killed Kinnear and Montgomery in their home, and fled with some money and valuables. They were soon captured near the American border, and brought back to Toronto for trial.

The Trial and Conviction of Grace Marks and James McDermott

The trial of McDermott and Marks took place in November 1843, and attracted a lot of public attention and media coverage. McDermott confessed to shooting Kinnear and strangling Montgomery, but claimed that he acted under the influence of Marks, who hated Montgomery for mistreating her. Marks denied any involvement in the murders, but gave contradictory statements and appeared confused and frightened. The jury found both of them guilty of murder, and sentenced them to death by hanging. However, Marks's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after a petition from some influential citizens who believed that she was innocent or insane. McDermott was hanged on November 21, 1843, and reportedly said before his execution that Marks was the mastermind of the crime.

The Life and Controversy of Grace Marks

Grace Marks was born in Ulster, Ireland, in 1828. She immigrated to Canada with her family when she was 12 years old, after the death of her father. She worked as a domestic servant for various households in Toronto, until she was hired by Kinnear in June 1843. She was 16 years old when she was arrested for the murders. She spent the next 30 years in prison, mostly in the Kingston Penitentiary, where she was considered a model prisoner. She also spent some time in the Provincial Lunatic Asylum in Toronto, where she was diagnosed with hysteria and amnesia. She was pardoned and released in 1872, after a campaign by a Methodist minister named John King. She changed her name to Mary Whitney, and moved to New York, where she died in 1873.

The case of Grace Marks has been a source of controversy and speculation ever since. Some people believe that she was innocent or coerced by McDermott, while others believe that she was guilty or an accomplice. Some people think that she suffered from mental illness or trauma, while others think that she was cunning or manipulative. Some people view her as a victim of social injustice or gender oppression, while others view her as a criminal or a femme fatale. Her story has inspired many books, plays, films, and documentaries over the years.

The Novel by Margaret Atwood

The Plot and Characters of Alias Grace

The novel by Margaret Atwood is a fictionalized account of Grace Marks's life and trial, based on historical documents, newspaper articles, letters, testimonies, and other sources. The novel is divided into six parts, each corresponding to a quilt pattern that Grace makes or mentions. The novel alternates between two narrative perspectives: one is Grace's first-person narration of her past, from her childhood in Ireland to her imprisonment in Canada; the other is a third-person narration of her present, in 1859, when she is visited by a young American doctor named Simon Jordan, who wants to examine her mind and memory. The novel also includes letters, poems, newspaper clippings, and other documents that provide additional information and context.

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The novel portrays Grace as a complex and ambiguous character, who may or may not be telling the truth about her involvement in the murders. She reveals different aspects of her personality and story to different people, such as Dr. Jordan, Reverend King, Mrs. Humphrey (the governor's wife), and Jamie Walsh (a former farmhand who loves her). She also has frequent dreams and visions of her dead friend Mary Whitney, who was a fellow servant and a rebel, and who died after a botched abortion. The novel suggests that Grace may have a split personality or a dissociative identity disorder, and that Mary may have taken over her body and mind during the murders.

The Themes and Style of Alias Grace

The novel by Margaret Atwood explores various themes and issues, such as storytelling, gender, memory, truth, identity, power, class, justice, violence, madness, and morality. The novel questions the reliability and validity of different sources and narratives, such as historical records, legal documents, medical reports, personal testimonies, and fictional accounts. The novel also challenges the stereotypes and expectations of women in the 19th century, especially those who were poor, immigrant, or criminal. The novel shows how women were oppressed, exploited, abused, and silenced by men and society, and how they resisted, survived, or escaped their situations.

The novel by Margaret Atwood uses a rich and varied style of writing, The Reception and Impact of Alias Grace

The novel by Margaret Atwood received widespread praise and recognition from critics and readers alike. It won the Giller Prize, Canada's most prestigious literary award, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, one of the world's most prestigious literary awards. It also won the Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year, and was nominated for several other awards. It sold over a million copies worldwide, and was translated into more than 25 languages. It is considered one of Atwood's best and most important works, and one of the finest examples of historical fiction in Canadian literature.

The miniseries by Sarah Polley and Mary Harron also received rave reviews and accolades from critics and viewers alike. It won eight Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Limited Series or Program, Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Limited Series, Best Direction in a Dramatic Program or Limited Series, Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Limited Series (Sarah Gadon), Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Program or Series (Edward Holcroft), Best Costume Design, Best Photography in a Drama Program or Series, and Best Production Design or Art Direction in a Fiction Program or Series. It also won two Directors Guild of Canada Awards, for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series (Mary Harron) and Outstanding Production Design - Television Movie/Mini-Series. It was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, for Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Sarah Gadon), and two Golden Globe Awards, for Best Miniseries or Television Film and Best Actress Miniseries or Television Film (Sarah Gadon). It was also nominated for several other awards. It was watched by millions of people around the world, and was praised for its faithful adaptation, captivating performances, atmospheric cinematography, and feminist insights.


Alias Grace is a novel and a miniseries that tell the story of Grace Marks, a woman who was convicted of murder in 19th-century Canada. Both the novel and the miniseries are based on historical facts and events, but also use fiction and imagination to explore the mystery and ambiguity of Grace's involvement and guilt. Both the novel and the miniseries are masterpieces of storytelling, that combine history, crime, psychology, drama, romance, and social commentary. Both the novel and the miniseries are highly acclaimed and influential works of art, that have won numerous awards and have reached a wide audience.

If you are interested in reading or watching Alias Grace, you can download the novel from or , or you can download the miniseries from or . You can also find more information and reviews about Alias Grace from or .


  • Is Alias Grace based on a true story?

Yes, Alias Grace is based on the true story of Grace Marks, who was convicted of murder in 1843 in Canada. However, the novel and the miniseries also use fiction and imagination to fill in the gaps and create different possibilities of what happened.

  • Who is Margaret Atwood?

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian writer who is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential authors of our time. She has written more than 50 books of fiction, poetry, essays, and criticism. Some of her most famous works include The Handmaid's Tale, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake, The Testaments, and Alias Grace.

  • Who is Sarah Polley?

Sarah Polley is a Canadian actress and filmmaker who is known for her roles in films such as The Sweet Hereafter, Go, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Dawn of the Dead, and Splice. She is also known for her directorial works, such as Away from Her, Take This Waltz, Stories We Tell, and Alias Grace.

  • Who is Mary Harron?

Mary Harron is an American director and screenwriter who is known for her films such as I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page, and The Moth Diaries. She is also known for her television work, such as Six Feet Under, Big Love, The L Word, Constantine, and Alias Grace.

  • Who is Sarah Gadon?

Sarah Gadon is a Canadian actress who is known for her roles in films such as A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis, Enemy, Dracula Untold, and A Royal Night Out. She is also known for her television work, such as 11.22.63, The 9th Life of Louis Drax, Letterkenny, and Alias Grace.

  • Where can I download Alias Grace?

You can download the novel from or , or you can download the miniseries from or . You can also find more information and reviews about Alias Grace from or .

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