Book Reviews

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed

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List Price: £16.99

 

Hardcover: 352 Pages.

Published: 25 July 2017 by Tinder Press

ISBN: 1472241703

EAN: 9781472241702

On a small isolated island, there's a community that lives by its own rules. Boys grow up knowing they will one day reign inside and outside the home, while girls know they will be married and pregnant within moments of hitting womanhood.

But before that time comes, there is an island ritual that offers children an exhilarating reprieve. Every summer they are turned out onto their doorsteps to roam wild: they run, they fight, they sleep on the beach and build camps in trees. They are free.

It is at the end of one of these summers, as the first frost laces the ground, that one of the younger girls witnesses something she was never supposed to see. And she returns home, muddy and terrified, clutching in her small hand a truth that could unravel their carefully constructed island world forever.

Reviews

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Generally Good - More Character Depth Required

In a dystopian future is an island where generations have created a basic society for themselves. The men are all powerful and the women submissive. The men work manually and the women have the job of having two healthy children. It is not a welcoming climate where the winter is very cold and the summer air so filled with mosquitos people can barely leave their homes.

This book follows the story of four young girls. Caitlin who tries to hide the shame of the reappearing bruises, Janey who is starving herself to put off the inevitable signs of womanhood, Vanessa who believes in the world that she lives in and Amanda who has just become a woman and had gone through her summer of fruition.

On the surface the world in which these girls live is tough with marriage and babies happening far too young. The older people are encouraged to drink a final draft to make way in the world for new babies. However, beneath the surface there is far worse going on. Has the world ended as the children are taught? What secrets do the daughters all hide? Is the rest of the world as desolate as the Wanderers would have the people believe?

I very much enjoyed this story. In many ways the story is not new and I could see elements of other well known books within this one. However, there are a few twists which help to make this book stand on its own feet. I did have a few concerns as to how this island world continued to survive for so long in isolation, some of which were answered as the book progressed but not all.

I liked the idea of having the chapters telling the story from the four individual girls points of view. I would have liked the girl's personalities to be more clearly defined and individual. The characterisation did need an extra depth to it as some of the characters were slightly two dimensional.

There is more to this book than appears on the surface. I don't want to give out any spoilers but suffice to say that there is topic that underlies this book which is good to raise. I appreciate the author bringing it to the reader's attention.

I found this book an easy read as it flowed well. I was certainly interested in the world that the author had created. I appreciated that she didn't spoon feed us the details of the society she had created but allowed the reader to grow in understanding as the book developed. It is just a shame that the characters weren't a little more developed.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

 
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