Published by POW WOW Books
Publication Date: July 1, 2011
Review Copy from: Author
My Rating: 5
Lillian is only 13 when her parents marry her to a middle-aged Bishop of a fundamentalist sect who practices polygamy. She is forced to live with her new husband’s many wives and children on his compound tucked away in the Canadian wilderness.
The hardships of poverty and isolation have crushed the will of just about everybody in his flock. They suffer in silent submissiveness, trying to please their despotic leader. He justifies the humiliating treatment of his dependents by citing ‘Section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants’ of his fundamentalist religion.
Until, one day, Lillian had enough. But it is dangerous to try and escape the Bishop’s iron rule. He practices blood-atonement, which is quietly sanctioned by the ‘Gatekeepers’, an American secret society within the Fundamentalist Mormon Church.
Lillian must find out-side help if she ever wants to leave the Bishop’s compound – but how can she do this if she is locked up without any means of communication?
Lillian doesn’t know how life outside a compound functions. She only knows that she can not live like this much longer. Many questions plaque her troubled mind.
Why do her sister-wives put up with this hardship, knowing only a bleak future lies ahead of them? Where do the child-brides come from, the Bishop keeps adding to his family? Where do some of his daughters disappear to, once they come of age? Lillian’s defiance grows with every injustice she witnesses – until she can’t hide her rebellion any longer.
Her desperate struggle to escape draws the reader into a very dark, very dangerous place. But not all is hopeless. When land developer Richard Bergman buys the neighboring property, Lillian’s luck seems to be changing …
My Thoughts and Opinion: Since I believe in honest reviews, I feel that I need to start this critique with some caveats as to how I came to read this book, what happened in the interim and how my personality/thought process played a role in the review.
First, author and friend, Melissa Foster (Megan’s Way, Chasing Amanda, Come Back To Me and Traces of Kara) contacted me, which she has done on several occasions, to recommend and ask if I would read, review and host an author showcase for one of her peers. I, in return, emailed Ms. Zeiner and offered a spotlight on my blog but was honest and stated that I didn’t know exactly when I would be able to read and review her book due to back log. She accepted and we agreed upon a date, May 29th that she would be featured. With emails back and forth to gather information for the spotlight, Helga asked about Partners In Crime Tours since her book is categorized as suspense. She decide to book a tour through Partners In Crime Tours, and at that time, I still hadn’t started reading her book. I am sure that some people will think that I give books high ratings because they decide to tour with our company (my partner being Molly from Reviews By Molly). That is not the case. I believe in honesty and integrity and will judge and write a review accordingly, no matter what.
Second, how my personality had a bearing on this book. I have always had a hunger for knowledge to learn about different cultures, religions, and life styles other than what I know and practice. Not to judge, condemn or condone but to learn and understand. Even though this was a fictional story, the details of a different religion and culture, was an eye opening education for me. With all that being said, now to my review.
My first thought when I started reading this book was “oh no…480 pages”. I admit, I am one of those readers, who prefer books that are approximately 300 pages. It is definitely a mind over matter issue thinking it will take me many days and/or weeks to read. However, once I finished reading the Prologue, I was hooked. Ms. Zeiner’s writing style was impeccable. It flowed smoothly even with the vast amount of minute details. Even with the minuscule depictions, it didn’t get boring or preachy whereas you wanted to just skim over certain parts. Those tiny descriptions allowed this reader to be transported into the plot and vividly create the imagery of the story. The characters were brought to life due to the specific graphic depiction. Believable and explicit. As I stated earlier, it was classified as a “suspense”, however, it wasn’t a typical standard “suspense” as one would think of like a “who done it”. It was more of a suspense whereas there was page turning apprehension as the chilling predicaments, compelling incidents, staggering events and outcome of the theme. What I thought would take me above average time to read because of the length of the book, took me days because I couldn’t put it down. One of my thoughts while reading this novel, was that with the definitive, distinct, precise and tenacious facts of this particular topic, that the author had put in years of research, was an embedded covert individual or had lived the lifestyle, because of it’s convincing nature. These 480 pages impacted and will stay with me for a very long time. Highly recommend! Extraordinary!! Powerful!!