A dystopian novel set in an unspecified future about a patriarchal colony living on an island off the US, and the young woman who begin to resist the ancestor worship, controlled breeding, and strict rationing of knowledge and history that keeps them subjugated.
…[a] quietly horrifying debut … Melamed’s gorgeous writing lets the details of this fundamentalist society drip out slowly. Readers will find dread washing over them as the story unfolds, and will be left catching their breath when the full backstory dawns on them. This one belongs on every dystopia reading list.”
...[a] compulsive and suspenseful debut ... This beautifully and carefully constructed work pulls no punches in its depiction of a bleak future; it will attract fans of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and readers who enjoy horror, suspense, and dystopian fiction.
Melamed, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, has drawn on her professional background to depict the interior lives of girls and women caught in such a brutal, cloistered world. She offers strong and at times poetic images of the natural environment in which her story takes place — terrain that sounds a lot like the islands in Puget Sound. She is less successful at conjuring the man-made surroundings (homes and church) or, more importantly, the process by which the force field of maternal love, as instinctive as the male sex drive, has been stomped out. Such powerful emotions don’t evaporate overnight.