What worked: Intense, dark tale of Immanuelle who carries the curse of her mother's action of making the mistake of falling in love with an outsider. Immanuelle tries hard to 'fit' in the town of Bethel by studying the scriptures of the Prophet and being 'good'. Yet she can't deny the allure of the Darkwood that calls to her. The scenes in Darkwood are like stumbling into a Holly Black novel. Loved the vivid descriptions that include the witches and a mysterious book that holds some of the secrets Immanuelle wants. Readers see the struggle Immanuelle has to either follow what Martha, her grandmother, teaches or to read what's in the book the witches gave her.
There's dark magic and feminist tones in this captivating fantasy. Great pacing, suspense set in a world where men keep control with rigid rules and laws. Anyone who goes against the word of the Prophet or is accused of being a witch is burned at the stake. Loved how Immanuelle rises up, even when others in her town try to keep her down. She's shunned by most, except Leah, one friend who is promised to the Prophet.
Immanuelle's struggles and then her overwhelming desires to know more about what was behind her mother's actions and the silence of the town are compelling. I couldn't put this story down and read it in one day. Yes, it's captivating, engaging and so good!
Haunting fantasy that shows a girl standing up against an evil Patriarchy. Handmaid's tale meets Holly Black.
2. Intense, dark fantasy where a girl fights against a Patriarchy