GATHER THE DAUGHTERS is a haunting story of an isolated island cult for fans of THE HANDMAID'S TALE, THE GIRLS and THE POWER. 'An intriguing, gorgeously realised and written novel which inexorably draws you into its dark heart' Kate HamerOn a small isolated island, there's a community that lives by its own rules. Boys grow up knowing they will one day reign inside and outside the home, while girls know they will be married and pregnant within moments of hitting womanhood. But before that time comes, there is an island ritual that offers children an exhilarating reprieve. Every summer they are turned out onto their doorsteps to roam wild: they run, they fight, they sleep on the beach and build camps in trees. They are free. It is at the end of one of these summers, as the first frost laces the ground, that one of the younger girls witnesses something she was never supposed to see. And she returns home, muddy and terrified, clutching in her small hand a truth that could unravel their carefully constructed island world forever.
An obvious comparison is Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and Melamed is more than equal a writer. Her prose is exact, the premise chilling and her characters all too plausible * Daily Mail, top debuts of 2017 * [A] dark, compelling debut... At a time when it feels as if women's rights around the world are being slowly eroded this absorbing novel is both gripping and to-the-bone chilling. Melamed is definitely a talent to watch. * Daily Express * At times harrowing in its depiction of cruelty, at other times joy-filled and buoyed by the spirit of liberated girlhood, this is an exhilarating, feminist cry-out, which I hope finds a wide readership * The Big Issue * Melamed's haunting and powerful debut blazes a fresh path in the tradition of classic dystopian works...a searing portrayal of a utopian society gone wrong...Melamed's prose is taut and precise. Her nuanced characters and honest examination of the crueler sides of human nature establish her as a formidable author in the vein of Shirley Jackson and Margaret Atwood * Publishers Weekly * A terrifying work of speculative fiction ... Melamed is a masterful writer, and she establishes a hauntingly vivid atmosphere....This is a haunting work in the spirit of The Handmaid's Tale-but Melamed more than holds her own. Fearsome, vivid, and raw * Kirkus Reviews * Gather The Daughters is extraordinary, powerful, and harrowing-and yet hopeful in its portrait of the human spirit and the endurance of love. This is a visceral book on all levels and it is haunting me still -- Julie Cohen Gather the Daughters is an always-compelling and sometimes-shocking read as the horrific secrets of the island are slowly revealed. I read it in one sleep-deprived sitting * Red Magazine * An assured, lyrical and vivid debut * Irish Independent * Obsessed with The Handmaid's Tale? This brilliant book is the one for you * Stylist * A chilling, vividly realised feminist novel that propels the reader into the dark heart of a cruelly repressive and sinister society * Daily Mail * It's a richly envisioned world, the strange isolation of which Melamed is excellent at teasing out slowly * Independent * An exceptional debut * Sunday Telegraph * A skilful novel full of suspense * Guardian * An intriguing, gorgeously realised and written novel which inexorably draws you into its dark heart -- Kate Hamer
Jennie Melamed is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who specialises in working with traumatised children. She lives in Seattle. This is her first novel.