Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Kyra is a young girl living in an isolated community. The people there claim to worship God and follow His commandments, living in family communities. Sounds peaceful, right? Wrong. Their community is cut off from the rest of the world, and the women are at the mercy of merciless old men who take as many wives as they can, even when the girls are sixty years younger than they are. Through her life, Kyra has been breaking some of the rules, like reading books and falling in love with a young man close to her age. However, when the man who calls himself the Prophet declares that Kyra is to marry her sixty-year old uncle, who already has six wives, she knows that she has to take a stand and take her own life into her own hands.
I have read very few books where I encountered characters I ended up hating so much that I wanted to go into the story and beat them to a pulp. This book is now one of those stories. The villains are absolutely despicable, claiming to be Chosen of God when they do NOTHING to live as Christians should. All that community does is stagnate in what they have, refusing to change and seeing everyone else as damned to hell. I also found it insulting that Mark Childs claims to be a prophet, and that Kyra's uncle Hyrum is supposed to be an apostle, but NONE of them are that. It's very clear that these men are only wolves in sheep's clothing, having their own police force to enforce their rules upon the closed community while they make it seem like their ideas and philosophies are the will of God. I know for sure that the men leading this community are NOT holy men. They are criminals and thugs who try to make everyone living in the community into mindless robots who do nothing but what they're told to do. I so wanted to tear them limb from limb. That's how well these antagonists are written in the story.
If there was anyone who could capture how a thirteen-year old girl must feel in this situation, it was Carol Lynch Williams. She has proven that she can write how a teen would feel, questioning what she knows, seeing evil men for who they are, and realizing that it's not safe for her to stay in the place she's lived all her life. I found myself worrying for her and getting scared that the story might not have a happy ending after all. Whether it does or not... you'll have to read this book to find out.
Old men try to marry teenage girls. Some "hells" and "damns". An old man beats a girl when she disobeys him, and a teenage boy is also beaten. Some deaths are mentioned but not seen.
Judge people by their actions, and not their words. We should seek out the best books for comfort and education. Wicked men will try to twist the word of God to suit their own ends.