Gather the Daughters
On a small isolated island, there’s a community that lives by its own rules. Boys grow up knowing they will one day reign inside and outside the home, while girls know they will be married and pregnant within moments of hitting womanhood.
But before that time comes, there is an island ritual that offers children an exhilarating reprieve. Every summer they are turned out onto their doorsteps to roam wild: they run, they fight, they sleep on the beach and build camps in trees. They are free.
It is at the end of one of these summers, as the first frost laces the ground, that one of the younger girls witnesses something she was never supposed to see. And she returns home, muddy and terrified, clutching in her small hand a truth that could unravel their carefully constructed island world forever.
Gather the Daughters is a rich, compulsive and poignant tale that explores the strength and resilience of human nature. Powerful and chilling, this book had such an impact on me, and since I finished, I’ve been singing its praise. I’ll try not to write too long a review though. Suffice to say this book is fabulous and I highly recommend it.
Gather the Daughters takes an unflinching look at the differences between societies and who we would be if not for the things we consider the norm. The girls in this novel are forced to marry and bear children at such a young age, forced to step out of their childhood and into the role of a woman and yet even before that they possess a maturity that is quite shocking against the backdrop of their youth – something very emotional to read about.
Jennie Melamed’s writing is simply incredible. Her descriptions of island life are tender and poetic. The tale is richly described and heartbreakingly portrayed. Even as I read the first sentence, I said to my friend, ‘Oh, I love it!’ And I can whole-heartedly say that I can not wait to see what Jennie Melamed writes next (fingers crossed a sequel)!
Dark yet beautiful, brutal yet tender, Gather the daughters will grasp you from the very first sentence. A novel to savour and reread again and again.
Dark. Tender. Powerful.
If you’d like to read Gather the Daughters here is the link
Huge thank you to Caitlin Raynor for my review copy!