Gather the Daughters – Jennie Melamed

Happy belated release day to GATHER THE DAUGHTERS by Jennie Melamed! (out yesterday, July 25th)

Also, thank you to Little Brown Company for the copies in exchange for our honest reviews! This is one more July #allthebookreviews title we’re squeezing in 🙂

Not only is this a beautiful cover (SO guilty of requesting this because of the cover) but it’s about a topic that really intrigues me – cults.

Let’s dive into my thoughts on this!

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My Thoughts: 5/5 stars!

This book was completely a cover request from me. I saw this beautiful cover and I needed it. Then I read the description and there’s mention of a cult? Count me in! GATHER THE DAUGHTERS by Jennie Melamed is about an isolated island with a colony of families – they fled there just before the country was incinerated into a wasteland.

These families built a society on a small island – a society of ancestor worship, controlled breeding, and “the strict rationing of knowledge and history”. There are strict rules as to who can leave the island – known as the Wanderers – are the male descendants of the original ten. While they can leave, the daughters of these men are considered wives-in-training.  With their many traditions, one is that when the first sign of puberty hits, they are to face their Summer of Fruition. This is a time when they get to live wildly and free of their parents.

After young Caitlin witnesses something truly horrifying, she feels that she must tell others. Not just because of how awful it was, but because it completely went against their laws and way of life. Upon learning of the events, Janey Solomon steps up to find the truth. Janey is slowly starving herself – this way she can avoid showing that she’s maturing. Once matured then she will immediately be forced into marriage and then down the path to having children until she’s no longer useful. She is determined to find the truth about the island and she knows that the men are hiding something from the girls. Will she be able to save the rest of the girls from their fates?

I’ll say right off the bat, this book depicts a lot of events and actions that not all readers will be able to stomach. Lots of incest, sexual assault, and domestic violence. While unpleasant to read, it really sets the tone to show the reader how truly horrifying this cult is. I commend the author, because she did her homework on the psychological effects these have on the victims, and it definitely shows. One thing I couldn’t believe was how when the women were considered “no longer useful” they had something called their final draught and then they died.

Melamed’s writing is incredible and she created a book where you just couldn’t put it down because you wanted to know the next unspeakable things the men were going to do. We read through the eyes of four different girls, Vanessa, Caitlin, Janey and Amanda. You instantly connect with these girls and feel for them. Knowing what they’ll have to endure after their summer of living freely really sets the tone. Reading through their eyes in regards to the events they witness and experience is captivating.

I have seen a few titles that people have compared this book to, and I’d say the only one I agree with is THE HANDMAID’S TALE. So, if you’re a fan of that book and can stomach the acts that I previously mentioned, then this compulsive read is definitely the book for you this summer.

 

Do you love cult books? I find the topic fascinating and will always pick up a book about them!

–Jess

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