This YA novel is not your normal YA novel. Written back in 2013, it does not even show it’s age. I’ve seen it sparingly upon library bookshelves and remember seeing the cover on my local bookstore a few years ago when it was released. If you have not heard of this book or even read it, you need too.
Author Julie Berry composes her novel in not your usual YA style form. It’s almost written as a personal diary form/love letter of sorts. I sped through this book rather quickly but not because it was boring, quite the opposite. I wanted to discover the hidden secrets behind the main character Judith’s eyes.
Based in the time early settlers in America, the colonies were operated as Protestant communities. If you believe premarital sex, murder, and disappearances were pretty serious, they were 100 times worse back then. Women’s clothes were different, plain girls had no aids from makeup, and men had to speak to his possible betrothed family (mainly father) before even thinking he could marry her. Nothing was easy back in those times.
Judith, her father, her mother, and younger brother Darrel, reside in the small town of Roswell Station. Judith loved her family but she also loved the son of the town’s militia general, Lucas. Upon Lucas’s mother running away with an unknown lover, his father set the family home on fire, leaving Lucas alone. His father disappeared and the town believed he has perished in the fire. The community, including Judith’s family, aided in Lucas’s upbringing. Through that time, Judith and him became friends until she disappeared
The story continues going back and forth between the past and the present. One minute, we’re being told about Judith’s family before her disappearance into the present following her escape. It is mind-boggling to be sure, but the pieces of the puzzle slowly come together as past runs together with the present.
I could not help but feel pity for Judith and her plight. Her captor cut out her tongue in order to silence her screams and the horrors she endured in the wilderness. No one knows what happened and at the same time Judith won’t attempt to explain. That is until her town is being attacked by three ships full of enemy soldiers.
The story will leave you full and satisfied by the end but you have to work in order to reach your destination. It’s a heart-wrenching story that I can not stress enough how well-written it is. I’d recommend this to both teens and adults alike.
8 out of 10 Book Charms!