Tuesday, March 10, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Seed by Lisa Heathfield

This is a book review for Seed by Lisa Heathfield. I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

All that Pearl knows can be encapsulated in one word: Seed. It is the isolated community that she was born into. It is the land that she sows and reaps. It is the center of her family and everything that means home. And it is all kept under the watchful eye of Papa S. At fifteen years old, Pearl is finally old enough to be chosen as Papa S’s companion. She feels excitement... and surprising trepidation that she cannot explain. The arrival of a new family into the Seed community — particularly the teenage son, Ellis — only complicates the life and lifestyle that Pearl has depended upon as safe and constant. Ellis is compelling, charming, and worldly, and he seems to have a lot of answers to questions Pearl has never thought to ask. But as Pearl digs to the roots of the truth, only she can decide what she will allow to come to the surface.

I am so thankful for NetGalley. If not for them, I never would have given this book a second glance. I did not have very many expectations going into it. I was not expecting such a well written book by a first time author. Pearl lives with her family in an isolated community they call Seed. The book starts with Pearl's first period, which they call a "blessing." Pearl has become a woman and she looks forward to the day when Papa S. will choose her as his companion. There are other women in the household and Papa S. takes turns choosing who will be his companion, which is just another word for lover. Pearl is not the only young person in the household. There are others. They are forbidden to ask who their "real" mother is, but Pearl has an ache and is desperate to find out where she came from. Pearl doesn't know anything except her family and the land they live on. The author does a great job of describing the gentle community and their day to day lives. Even though it is obvious this is a cult, I still found myself lulled into believing that things were better at Seed, much like Pearl does. But there is a danger lurking underneath the peaceful surface. Papa S. is a typical cult leader; he is charismatic, yet cruel. He tells people in the community lies in order to control them. For example, he tells them that the government puts viruses into the water to make people sick. And doctors inject poison into people's bloodstreams to hurt them. We also see the point of view of another mysterious, unnamed woman in the community who is being held against her will. 

Then a new family comes to the community: Linda and her children, Sophie and Ellis. When Pearl meets Ellis, she starts feeling things she has never felt before. Pearl is extremely naive about everything, but especially sex. Ellis teaches Pearl things that she never knew and he forces her to admit the lies she has been told. I loved the burgeoning romance between Pearl and Ellis and just wish there was more of it. I know it made sense to the character that she resisted, but still . . . I wanted more! Throughout the entire book, I rooted for Pearl. She frustrated me, but I get her motivations. I understand why she resisted anything Ellis told her about "the Outside." She didn't want to believe that her entire life was based on a lie. I kept rooting for her to realize how dangerous and controlling Papa S. was. 

One of the only issues I had with this book was that the ending seemed a bit rushed. It seemed like everything kind of happened at once. The ending also kind of broke my heart. There were some things I saw coming and some things I didn't. I also wished we could have had the point of view of Kate in addition to Pearl. From the beginning, it was obvious that Kate was already questioning the community and its rules before the arrival of the new family. I would have loved to know what she was thinking. 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy! This was such a wonderful book and I am so glad I read it!


16 comments :

  1. Oh this is interesting! I have to see if it's still up on Net Galley. I can't say I've read something like this before. Definitely a first for me.

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    1. Thanks Joyous Reads! I was unsure about it, but it is really good.

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  2. The premise does sound refreshing and entertaining. I'll be checking this out! Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

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    1. No problem Jocelyn. I hope you enjoy it!

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  3. This sounds like a great read! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I would not have discovered this book otherwise.

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    1. Thanks Lucia! It is a great one. :)

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  4. Well. What a surprise. I confess that, just like you, I wouldn't have given this a second glance. But now it's going on my list for sure... On a side note, this is just one of the books about cults I've heard about recently, and I'm glad for it. It's a very intriguing setting for a story. A beautiful review.

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    1. Thanks Ramona! This was actually the first one I have read about a cult and it was a good one.

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  5. Hmm, saw this one but didn't request. Does sound like a good premise though

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    1. It really is Brandi. I almost didn't request it, but I am so glad I did.

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  6. This sounds like a great read. I'm going to have to add it to my Someday TBR.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Amanda

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    1. Thanks Amanda! I hope you enjoy it. :)

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  7. Oh I need this book! Yours is the second great review I have read for it this week! I added it to my wishlist (but the prettier UK cover hah) because it sounds so good! Cults fascinate me so very much, and this just sounds all around great. Lovely review, I cannot wait to read it!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. Thanks Shannon! I am sure you will love it too. And if this is the second review you have seen, I think that is a sign you need to read it. :)

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  8. THIS SOUNDS SERIOUSLY AMAZING. I saw that it was about cults and I was like, yes please! Need to read this!

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    1. It really is!! I am fangirling all over the place about it!

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