Gather the Daughters – Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

You want some horror? Here’s something horrific for you.

I like horror books, horror movies, grimdark novels, all things dark and twisted. I mean really, the more fucked up the better. I studiously studied serial killers as a teenager. You can go ahead and question my state of mind or sanity, but I tell you this for two reasons. One, in case you haven’t realized all the bizarre, dark things I enjoy based on my reading yet (or if you don’t know me personally) and two, to show you exactly how horrific this novel is…It may have left me scarred.

This is quite possibly one of those stories that is going to manage to give me nightmares. Everyone talks about the likes of A Handmaid’s Tale, which is a renowned for scaring people, especially women, but this, this is better and yet worse. Better for the writing and story, and worse because it manages to be even more horrifying. In case you missed it, the word of the day, as least pertaining to this novel, is ‘horrifying’. 
On an island lives an isolated society of people, who survived some apocalypse thanks to the likes of their original ten ancestors. They worship their ancestors who answer for them to the likes of some God. Mostly though, they’re just concerned with what their ancestors would think about them. The ancestors set together a moral code of shalt-nots for people to live by, the wanderers (the few men who can travel into the wastelands to scavenge for things they need) have expanded these rules over the generations. This is a society ruled firmly by men, women are tasked with the care of the house and producing two children. Two is the limit. Once a couple has two children, they live only as long as they contribute to the community. When they reach the point where they cannot help any longer they drink a death tonic together, then their bodies are buried under the soil to fertilize the crops. Sounds pretty bleak so far, right? It gets much worse.

Daughters are expected to submit their fathers in everything. It is wildly known, and expected (hell pretty sure it’s in the rules) that fathers can have sex with their daughters up until they have their first period. Then, they’re off limits. That’s right, only then. It doesn’t matter what age they are, only that they get their period. The perverted thought behind this being that, it’s better their father teaches them than some man who may not be as “nice”. Then, the “of-age” girls and boys go to their summer of fruition. Which basically means, a summer of sex with anyone and everyone but, at the end they must choose a husband. They will marry by autumn and begin trying to have babies, then the ugly cycle repeats itself.

The story itself is about four girls who attempt to escape this life or attempt to pry the secrets of the community apart. You get a dark look into each of their lives and it leaves you rooting for every single one of them to get out.

The author’s work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner that specializes in traumatized children burns vividly throughout the novel. It’s probably weird to say that a book so dark and horrifying is amazing, but it is. This is one you won’t stop thinking about anytime soon.

20 thoughts on “Gather the Daughters – Book Review

  1. Jesus, it sounds full on. I think myself and my wife would enjoy it. I can remember if I told you about James Hurbert? I think I may have told Miss Moth. Anyway read some of his gear and I guarantee you’ll be addicted. I too used to read all about serial killers etc. Then I became a dad and read about one very sick and twisted (who I won’t mention because I know you’ll google him) and I never read another true life thing again. I decided I knew enough about how bad people can be. I still love my fiction though because in the back of my head I know it’s make believe, no matter how horrifying it gets.

    1. I had not heard of that author but he sounds interesting. Which book of his would you recommend reading first? I haven’t been AS into serial killers since then but every once in awhile I’ll find something new worth reading. I recently added a book about the Green River Killer since I have basic knowledge but want more info. I also really want to know who the one that made you draw the line was lmao. Curiosity and cats and all that.

      1. Ooohhhh that’s like asking what was your favourite Christmas. I’ll answer that actually. Mine was 1988. Mum and dad had little to no money. We made Christmas decorations out of lolly wrappers. Sang songs and told stories. I received one present. A GI Joe Snow Tank which I played with non-stop for weeks. Haha. Anyway I’d suggest ALL of his books but start with “The Fog” or “The Rats”. A non-horror of his is called “Fluke” that was the first one of his I read and loved it. I’m currently reading it to my nine year old daughter. I’ll never tell you or anyone else about the serial killer who made me stop wanting to read about serial killers. Honestly, it was the worse thing I’ve ever read. There’s also a movie that I won’t tell anyone about. It’s the most vile piece of YUK I’ve watched.

      2. Man! Way to peak a girl’s curiosity! lmao. I won’t keep asking and respect your wishes not to talk about it but good goddamn way to make something even MORE interesting lol.
        I will definitely have to check out that author though. 🙂

    1. It was so fucked! Probably the worst part is realizing that something like this could totally happen at the end of civilization. (Although the book questions whether it was ever really the end of anything.) It’s a damn moving read.

  2. I’m so excited to read this. It sounds so disturbing, but like a book that would be hard to put down. I wish I had been able to get my hands on a copy before book club, but oh well, I’ll still read it whenever I finally get it. 🙂

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