I went down the Google rabbit hole after I read this novel. I simply had to find out if there were, in fact, Sin Eaters that existed in history. And you know what? There was!
“ A Sin Eater is a person who consumes a ritual meal in order to spiritually take on the sins of a deceased person. The food was believed to absorb the sins of a recently dead person, thus absolving the soul of a person. Sin Eaters as a consequence carried the sins of all the people whose sins they had eaten” (Wikipedia)
I was curious about the title of this book,
and I found the cover striking,
and I found the premise intriguing.
Can you imagine being given the sentence of “ eating in order to absolve others of their sins”?
Specific food for a specific sin.
Dried Raisins for adultery.
Crows meat with plum for slander.
Black pudding for revenge.
I won’t list the gag-inducing foods for the more serious sins.
As a Sin Eater, not only would you be privy to the transgressions of the poor, you would also possess the darkest secrets of the royal court….information that would most surely put your life in jeopardy. And above all else, a Sin Eater only speaks to those with whom she hears confession. Our protagonist May is caught stealing food and thus is sentenced to the life of a Sin Eater, and although she is traumatized by her sentence she does see a wee bit of a silver lining….
at least she won’t die hungry
I really enjoyed this book. This was the kind of book you could start reading on a Saturday morning and be finished by the end of the day and be thoroughly entertained throughout it all.