I honestly had no idea what to expect going into this. I pick my books based on other bloggers' reviews/recommendations, and front covers (yes I know it is shameful and I just don't care!). This book was absolutely outside the realm of anything I could have dreamed, and it was unbelievably wonderful. The story is told from second person, which probably would not work for a lot of people, but somehow Berry makes it compelling and immersive. By telling the story from this perspective, Berry allows the reader to get a million times closer to Judith than they ever would have been able to using first person. The result is wonderfully complex, fleshed-out characters that you really connect with. Even the secondary characters and random townspeople are described in such a way that they feel wonderfully lifelike.
The romance in this story is sweet, heartfelt, and built up in a slow, persistent way that keeps the reader guessing and hoping with fingers crossed that everything works out into a happily ever after for all the characters.
I cannot say enough about how amazing this book was. The prose was poignant, unique, and compulsively readable. The story was heartbreaking, hopeful, suspenseful--this book really had it all. If you enjoy poetic, flowery writing, historical fiction, and crying uncontrollably for fictional characters, you should go hunt this book down right now, I promise you won't regret it!
Set in what seems like Puritan times in a fictional place called Roswell Station, a young girl Judith returns after being abducted four years earlier. She has been mutilated, with her tongue cut out in order to "save" her from being forced to speak about her struggles over the last few years. Now that she is back, she has been forced to spend most of her time alone. The town seems to think that she is cursed and avoids her at all cost. Worse yet, the boy she has been in love with since childhood, Lucas, is about to get married to someone else. Then Roswell Station is attacked. In order to save Lucas, Judith makes the decision to go back to her captor and elicit help, sacrificing herself for Lucas and the town that has shunned her. In the process, the truth about the past is coming out and Judith's decisions for the future are also interrupting the present day plot.
There is so much in this one little novel. For under 300 pages, there is a lot in here. There is some suspense, but a lot of learning about the society and main character. Judith is amazing. Even for a character that does not speak, the reader connects with her. She is very observant and we learn about each character through her observations. Along with her current struggles, she also dives into her past and future as well. This gives us a wide range of development opportunities for Judith and the reader is easily thrust into her life. It is such an emotional story that you can't help but leave the book with a sense of Judith in your life. She changes each reader by the time the book is finished.