Gather The Daughters by Jennie Melamed
GATHER THE DAUGHTERS tells the story of an end-of-the-world cult founded years ago when ten men colonised an island. It’s a society in which men reign supreme, breeding is controlled, and knowledge of the outside world is kept to a minimum. Girls are wives-in-training: at the first sign of puberty, they must marry and have children. But until that point, every summer, island tradition dictates that the children live wildly: running free, making camps, sleeping on the beach. And it is at the end of one such summer that one of the youngest girls sees something so horrifying that life on the island can never be the same again.
I write this as I have just finished this novel, I am emotional and a little bit wounded. The author managed to invoke so many emotions in the journey of this novel, that I am almost lost for words! I will confess off the bat, I am a woman who delivered my first baby at 19 years old. That same baby, is now 14 years old!
That, made this intense reading!
My final notes on this novel read: uncomfortable, yet compelling reading & A million shivers down my spine
This is without a doubt an intense novel, be under no illusions………
The novel opens on a seemingly colonised Island, where the mainland is referred to as the ‘wasteland’. The wasteland is destroyed by war, disease and murder. A new society exists on the Island, a society that has a whole new meaning for the female of the species……..
I do by no means want to spoil this novel in any way shape or form. I often like to include quotes and outtakes from the novel itself. However, you won’t find any here. This is a novel that demands to be read and then devoured and for that reason. I shall not be giving too much away at all.
There are a variety of personalities that inhabit the island. In particular, my favourites some of the young teenage girls. Growing more aware and rebellious with every growing day, throughout the novel. Raised in a society that rejects any form of female empowerment, where women have one use and one use only. This novel often makes for harsh and vile sexist reading. But that is the entire point of the novel, it draws you into the world the teenage girls must endure and it is not easy reading!
The society is effectively a cult, one that has its own set of rules and laws, laid out via the church. A society where, when a young woman enters her summer of fruition, her life will ultimately change, whether she likes it or not! The society must remain with patriarchal order in the home which transpires as women must be controlled and dominated, at all costs……..
There are some very neatly written characters and at one point in the novel, I was so moved by a character’s situation, I actually Tweeted the author to tell her so. With the caption ‘what have you done’ ‘heart ripped out’!
In a society so domineering and controlling that the young women wish death before birthing, how will they survive their summer of fruition? The tension drips off every single page!
Fear is a powerful commodity and this novel fully details that. The how’s/when’s/whys. When one of the young teens, witnesses something she shouldn’t and she begins to educate the other girls. The dynamic of their lives changes and it is exceptional reading! Highly recommend 4.5*
*The novel is due for release in the UK on the 25th July 2017 🙂
Via Hachette: https://www.hachettebookgroup.biz/authors/jennie-melamed/
*I received an Ebook arc via Netgalley in return for an honest review!