Sara dreams that she and her sister, Rachel, might escape their abusive father and his four wives, who constantly vie for power in their overcrowded household. Sara wishes to choose her own path in life. To go to school, to get a job, to marry of her own free will. She wants the same for her beloved sister.But that is not Sara’s destiny, nor Rachel’s. Trapped in a secret, polygamous cult, the fifteen-year-olds are overdue to be married to husbands selected by their Prophet. Sara—too smart and willful for her own good—is terrified when she learns she will be sealed to her already-married uncle.For Rachel—a stunning and loyal beauty—the Prophet has a different plan. Sixteen men, including some of the most powerful elders of their Church—seek Rachel’s hand. But a forbidden love is blossoming for Rachel, one that will change her forever and threaten the entire community.
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A powerful and gripping debut novel that follows the journey of two young sisters coming of age in a secret polygamous sect where religion is distorted to justify abuse, misogyny, and the taking of child brides.
“Captivating . . . compelling . . . a great read.”--RT Book Reviews (4 ½ stars)“A suspenseful page turner you can’t afford to miss.”--Irene Spencer, New York Times bestselling author“A poignant yet realistic tale of family love, loyalty, and dysfunction set in a ripped-from-the-headlines polygamist cult.”--Karen White, New York Times bestselling author“Rivets the reader’s attention from start to finish. With searing insight, Avery captures the all too real horrors which girls and women must endure inside fundamentalist polygamist cults.”--Andrea Moore-Emmett, award-winning author of God’s Brothel
Mari Hilburn, an attorney, and Michelle Poche, a screenwriter and journalist, are sisters who write novels under their joint pseudonym, Claire Avery. They grew up in Chicago in a cult that combined Catholic fundamentalism with socialism—and plenty of guilt. When the sisters were in their teens, their father, fearing that the end was near, moved—along with twenty-five other families—to the Ozark Mountains. There, they lived in a bomb shelter and attempted to raise chickens and grow enough food to survive the coming nuclear holocaust. Moving to the Dallas-Fort Worth area after high school graduation, the sisters earned degrees in Psychology and Journalism. Michelle moved to New York and Europe to work as a fashion model, while Mari pursued a career as an attorney in private practice. Now full- time novelists, Mari lives near Chicago while Michelle lives in Aspen, Colorado.