My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
WHAT I THOUGHT
Most book bloggers tend to have a reading comfort zone whereby we only review genres we know we like. However in the case of this book, I wanted to throw myself in at the deep end as this isn’t my typical read. I decided to request it for review, mainly because I knew that my 17 year old self would have loved it!
My initial thoughts were how beautifully descriptive the writing is and I was eager to find out what literary journey I was going to be taken on…
The story follows four girls who live on an island that is completely cut off from the rest of the world. There are a firm set of rules that must be followed by everyone, and the main goal of the island is to raise females until their summer of fruition (aged approx 12-14) so that they can play their part in adding to the population with a trusted male. People (mainly elderly) that can no longer add to society are euthanised and their bodies used to fertilise the soil (sounds pretty sick, I know!). But you can tell that Jennie Melamed has a real eye for imagination and a lot of thought has gone into the details of this book which clearly shines through.
The four main girls are curious Vanessa who has yet to reach puberty, pregnant Amanda who has just been through her summer of fruition, an emotionally disturbed Caitlin and an anorexic Janey (she is making herself unwell to put off her period and the dreaded “summer”). All four of them are going through a different point in their lives.
One day Caitlin witnesses something that makes all of the girls question everything that they believe in. They go on a rebellious mission to try and find out the truth… but where will it lead them, and will everyone on the island be punished as a result!? I will leave it with you to find out for yourself (no spoilers in my reviews!).
The island has been built on the basis of a cult set in the future. It is creepy, and the way Jennie Melamed writes makes it feel like it is part of every day life already. This is a creative piece of work with some very dark undertones. You can see how Jennie’s work as a psychiatric nurse is reflected in the book and she has drawn on her experiences to create some vivid characters who you can’t help but feel for. The book in my opinion has been left open for a sequel which I would definitely give a read.
Be warned though, Gather the Daughters makes for disturbing reading!
Thank you so much to Tinder Press / Headline (via Netgalley) for allowing me to review this title in return for an honest opinion.
My final word: Unusual.