Trigger Warning: if you are the victim of sexual violence, you may want to look at trigger warnings posted on goodreads before picking up this book (if added here these warnings would spoil the plot for some other readers).
Esther “Essie” Ann Hicks is the 17 year old daughter of an evangelical preacher and stars alongside her family in a reality tv show about their near “perfect” life. Having grown up in the spotlight, Essie has developed an internal world and a public persona, but it isn’t until she becomes pregnant that she is forced to reconcile the two worlds. While her family orchestrates a wedding to coverup the out-of-wedlock pregnancy, Essie plans her escape from the world she grew up in. With the help of her soon to be husband, Essie becomes a master conspirator and devises a plan that promises to set her free. Filled with plot twists, both unexpected and easily predictable, this book is one that is difficult to put down.
The content is both disturbing and enthralling and the writing and prose flow easily as you read. However, there are a few aspects of the book that aren’t particularly well developed, which is why I only gave it 3.5 stars. The characterizations are muddled with some characters being very well developed and the majority being incredibly two dimensional. The parents of Roarke seem to be endlessly naive and self serving with regard to their son, essentially throwing him to the wolves to attain financial security. Their actions seem problematic on many levels. Despite this, the book is content heavy and covers a number of incredibly difficult issues that routinely pop-up in the evangelical christian community.
The book is very entertaining and if you are in the mood for a guilty pleasure read, this is the book for you. I wouldn’t call it a beach book because it does have depth and content and to be fair very little actual romance. In fact, it is the antithesis of a romantic despite the book revolving around the upcoming wedding of the protagonist. I look forward to reading more books by this author if and when they make their debut.
Up Next: Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus by Laura Kipnis