I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The description of this book hinted at some kind of magical element, and that automatically had me intrigued. I wanted to see how the author would tie in a fantasy element with a story that revolves around polygamy. Here is my review:
Hanna has lived her entire life within the secluded community of Clearhaven. Her father has 4 wives and Hanna has 14 siblings. And in one week, on her 18th birthday, Hanna will follow tradition and leave her home to become the 5th wife of a man who is double her age. But days before the wedding, Hanna meets Daniel, a stranger with links to the community who challenges her beliefs and urges her to follow her own will. And when Hanna’s mother tells her a secret about her existence, Hanna realizes that this could be the ticket to the freedom she has always sought. But leaving Clearhaven means abandoning her beloved younger sisters and the only home she’s ever known? Can she turn her back on them and seek out her own destiny? Or is there another option – one too fantastical to believe?
The author does not wait to jump into the story, as the first scene is about how Hanna is only a few days away from her birthday – and her impending marriage. Right away, it is made known to the reader that Hanna does not want to go through with this marriage, but is doing so in order to uphold tradition and also protect her mother and siblings. The introduction of Daniel’s character happened pretty much the way I thought it would happen, and he became the catalyst for her dreams of escaping and wanting more for herself. I really enjoyed reading about her dilemma, as the author did a great job explaining all of the angles and options Hanna was considering. I also really liked Hanna’s character: she had opinions, intelligence, and was brave to a fault. I had been intrigued by the “fantastical” element in the premise, and when the author brought it up, it took me aback. It was very much something out of a fantasy/sci-fi story, and I thought it interesting that the author added this into the story. I wanted to see how the author would develop this detail. However, he really didn’t do so and that was quite disappointing to me. I really don’t like it when an author introduces something as a twist but it ultimately serves no purpose (which is what happened here). Either the author should have just eliminated that whole fantasy aspect, or developed it more so that it had an actual purpose in the plot. Overall, the story was a good one, but not anything different than other books on this topic. It was well-written and the main character was someone a reader could easily empathize with, but the addition of the fantasy element was really unnecessary and a bit of a let-down. For those reasons, I’m giving this novel a 3/5 stars.