#Newrelease 4.5* #Early #Review #GatherTheDaughters by @jennie_melamed @TinderPress @littlebrown

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.

My review:

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 🙂

Jennie Melamed
Authors Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jenniemelamed/
Twitter: jennie_melamed
Via Hachette: https://www.hachettebookgroup.biz/authors/jennie-melamed/
&: https://www.hachette.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9781472241733

*I received an Ebook arc via Netgalley in return for an honest review!

5* #Review #TheDayEndsLikeAnyDay by @timothyogene @HhouseBooks #DiverseNovels

I am super excited to share this review, which I discovered via Holland House Books. It is an incredibly unusual novel but that should not take away from its emotional narrative. If Timothy Ogene decides to re-write the phone book, I would buy it because I am 100% certain he could turn it into a beautiful tale.

The Day Ends Like Any Day by Timothy Ogene

In the slum they call The Blocks, growing up is a strange affair…

Sam, a young Nigerian whose father only speaks to the children once he has taken on enough alcohol, and whose mother
won’t accept that Sam is different from his siblings, is formed by the people he meets, the gay young man he cannot rescue from his tormentors, the girl whose rapist escapes when the women of the block march to mete out justice on him; and Pa Suku, a strange figure who opens Sam’s eyes to books and music, poetry and jazz. Then Sam goes to college and confronts his own sexuality, his own lack of belonging.

The Day Ends Like Any Day is the lyrical, challenging account of the multiple lives of a young Nigerian who refuses to accept that he has been shaped by the traumas of his past.

My review:

I routinely seek out novels with, either a writer or a protagonist, from an entirely different walk of life to me. This novel could be classed as both. It is a fictional memoir style novel with hidden depth.

The novel opens up, with Sam the protagonist growing up in poverty at the block, in 1990’s Nigeria. There’s no electric, over-flowing latrines and an air rife with mosquitos. Sam lives with his four siblings, brothers Kor Leab and Pan and sister Rica. They have a 7km walk to the local state school and will receive 15 stroke of a cane/whip if they arrive late. When they finish school for the day and as they make their long journey home in tattered uniforms. They watch the privately educated children pour out of the school opposite. A school untouched by the harshness of poverty.

When Sam befriends local man Pa Suku on a lone walk home from school one day. He opens up Sam’s mind to a world previously unknown to him. The world of literature, art, Jazz and philosophy. Pa Suku is rumoured to me a local ‘mad man’ forcing me to ask myself, why do people confuse freedom of thought with mental illness. To see the world truly as it is, does this make one insane?

“An unfinished thought, is as dangerous as a child left to grow wild, without a sense of right and wrong”

Sam begins to express a desire to study history and English, which has his mothers disgust. With an also absent father via way of alcohol. Pa Suku becomes Sam’s path to enlightenment. There are a series of passages and quotes I would love to share but this would create spoilers. One of my favourites was the theory of ‘the privilege of distance’ in relation to the theme of betrayal. There is a painful scene towards the end, of rejection by Sam’s childhood friend Steve. I could literally feel the tears burning my eyes. Throughout the novel Sam is conflicted with his sexuality and this intensifies his feelings of rejection. The scene at the very end and the final few sentences provides much food for thought!
I believe this was the authors intention and it is executed beautifully with his writing style.

The novel has a real ‘coming of age’ feel to it and I think would make a fantastic novel for young students to read and debate. It offers the reader the opportunity to glimpse into a different world and a different form of life experience.

I would hazard a guess that I am of a similar age to the author. I am also from a large family, I have five brothers (one of which, is an out and proud gay man!) and two sisters. We were not raised in poverty, nor were we raised in considerable wealth. But one thing our parents did instil in us all, was the true value of things and by this I mean, we may never be rich, from a financial point of view. But with each other and the true acceptance of one another by way of unconditional love. We are richer than we can ever imagine! With that I shall leave you with my favourite quote within the novel.
“I would rather die poor than become someone else”

An incredibly moving novel, that will leave the reader pondering their own life journey and aspirations.
The writing is unique, beautiful and extremely emotionally intelligent. 5*

Timothy Ogene
Authors Links:
via publisher: http://www.hhousebooks.com/out-now/the-day-ends-like-any-day/
Twitter: @timothyogene