Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date of publication: April 9th, 2019
Genre: General Fiction
Where you can find The Ash Family: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub
When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.
At nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds herself compelled by his promise of a new life. He ferries her into a place of order and chaos: the Ash Family farm. There, she joins an intentional community living off the fertile land of the mountains, bound together by high ideals and through relationships she can’t untangle. Berie—now renamed Harmony—renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear.
Thrilling and profound, The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness, and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging.
When I was approached to review The Ash Family, I was a little hesitant about reviewing it. As weird as this sounds, I didn’t like the vibe that I got from the blurb. But, since I don’t reject publisher book requests through my email, I accepted. Now that I have read it, I wish that I didn’t. It bored me.
I could see why Berie/Harmony was such an easy mark for Bay. She was naive. I could also see why she was able to fall under the sway of Dice. She was searching for a father figure. But, I didn’t like her. She came across as selfish. Her memories of her mother cemented that fact. Her behavior while in the cult highlighted it also. She refused to learn other jobs. She tried to form a relationship with Bay when it was against the rules. There were points in the book where I had doubts if they would keep her. To top it off, her actions at the end of the book disturbed me.
The plotline was slow. It crept along. I can’t tell y’all how many times I fell asleep reading this book. Even the exciting parts, like the Queenie’s miscarriage or the end of the book, were boring. I had figured out what Dice’s deal was early in the book. So, I had to push myself to finish reading it.
I do think that the story had potential, which saved this review from being a 1-star review. But it was bogged down by the slow plotline and unlikable characters.
I also liked how the author showed what life would be like in a cult. I also liked that the author explained what life was like living off the grid. She didn’t sugarcoat anything.
The end of the book left me scratching my head. I had no clue what was going to happen to Berie/Harmony or the cult. Well, I had a good idea of what happened to the cult. But Berie/Harmony? No. Nothing was wrapped up. I didn’t get to see if Berie/Harmony got help or even reconciled with her mother. It was disappointing for me to read.
I would give The Ash Family an Adult rating. There is sex (nothing graphic). There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age 21 read this book.
I would not reread The Ash Family. I also would not recommend this book to family and friends.
I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Ash Family.
All opinions stated in this review of The Ash Family are mine.
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