Freedom Oliver's past has caught up with her - or at least Nessa Delaney's past has finally found her. When Nessa's husband Mark is shot to death in their home, she is quickly convicted of the crime. Forced to choose between leaving her son and unborn daughter with her horrible in-laws or giving them up completely, she chooses the latter. After two very long years she is released and her brother-in-law is found guilty. Under the Witness Protection Program, Nessa has been Freedom Oliver for nearly twenty years.
Reading Brianna Karp’s memoir of losing her job, home, and family reminded me in many ways of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. Except instead of embarking on a months-long solo hike, as Strayed did, Karp faces the challenges of living in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot. With no water or electricity. Frustration at Brianna’s “unwise” choices (surrounding her involvement with a fellow homeless gent) is always followed by a heart-wrenching family story that would have left me a gelatinous blob.
Lawrence Wright’s journalistic writing is the perfect voice for the subject of Scientology. In the hands of most other writers, Scientology would float into the ether, a dark and unfathomable history left unread by sensible readers. That said, though Wright offers Scientology an even-handed approach, his book is full of strange stories, made stranger when compared to the seemingly (sometimes) sane and healthy lives of people who are associated with Scientology.
Gated by Amy Christine Parker is a high anxiety filled novel that continues to build until the very last chapter. Lyla is seventeen, and has been living in a cult called the Community, since she was 5 years old. However, to Lyla her life is ideal as she follows the words of her leader Pioneer without question.
In The Leftovers, Perrotta puts human relationships under a microscope, sometimes to chilling effect. The town of Mapleton has never stopped reeling after the Sudden Departure, when large numbers of random people simply vanished into thin air. When the smoke clears, those left behind not only grieve for their friends and family who are suddenly gone, but also wonder why they were spared (or not spared).
Rebecka Martinsson is heading to her hometown in northern Sweden to help Sanna, an old–now estranged–friend, who found the body of her brother following his horrific murder. Rebecka, an attorney, left Kiruna years ago in disgrace and has not looked back. The author deftly weaves Rebecka’s back story with the events surrounding the murder investigation. At the center are three pastors of a cult religious group who have made a pact of silence and refuse to answer the quest