Thank you so much TLC Book Tours and Park Row Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I rate this novel 4 out of 5 stars.
From page one I was immersed into the lyrical prose of Christopher Meades. Following the heartbreaking story of Hanna who lives in a religious cult community, this story is all about identity, faith, and most importantly believing in yourself. Both haunting and beautiful I could not put this book down until I had finished and I have a feeling Hanna will stay with me for long after the final pages.
“All I know is that if you don’t believe in miracles, you’ll never experience one.”
From highly acclaimed, award-winning author Christopher Meades comes a magical, provocative tale of forbidden love and one girl’s struggle for liberation
Hanna has never been outside her secluded community of Clearhaven. She has never questioned why her father has four wives or why she has fourteen brothers and sisters. And in only one week, on her eighteenth birthday, Hanna will follow tradition and become the fifth wife of a man more than twice her age.
But just days before the wedding, Hanna meets Daniel, an enigmatic stranger who challenges her to question her fate and to follow her own will. Then her mother tells her a secret–one that could grant Hanna the freedom she’s known only in her dreams. As her world unravels around her, Hanna must decide whether she was really meant for something greater than the claustrophobic world of Clearhaven. But can she abandon her beloved younger sister and the only home she’s ever known? Or is there another option–one too fantastical to believe?
With lush, evocative prose, Christopher Meades takes readers on an emotional journey into a fascinating, unknown world–and, along the way, brilliantly illuminates complexities of faith, identity and how our origins shape who we are.
I was immediately interested in the entire premise of this book. Religious cult type settings have always fascinated me and Hanna being part a polygamist community had me hooked right away. While at times the book felt a bit slow I thought Christopher did a good job getting the reader to feel exactly how Hanna felt living in this community. The world building, though minimal, was well done. I could see every part of Clearhaven clearly and I shudder to think that places like this exist. I felt I was on an emotional roller coaster waiting to find out what was next for Hanna and how each event would unfold through out the story. Rooting for Hanna to find her voice and break away from this town kept me glued to the pages. For such a dark story there was also so much light.
One thing I didn’t love was that there wasn’t much connection to some of the characters. I wish Hanna and Daniel had met more than once before she started using him as a reason to find herself. Had they started to have a relationship I could connect too I think I would have loved them that much more. I also think though this was not solely meant to be about a romance so in that way I understand why the book did not focus more on Daniel and Hanna.
For such a dark story there was also so much light. I was so happy with the ending of this book and I loved the messages Christopher gave us. I can only hope more young women in Hanna’s situation, or anyone who ever feels trapped, are able to break free from their chains and find their freedom. I would recommend this to anyone wanting an emotional and empowering read that is a bit slower but tells a beautiful story.
I have a giveaway going on my Instagram page currently for one copy of this book, US only, ending 10/8! Click here to enter!