My review 5/5 stars.
What separates a great book from a good book? For me, it's the feels. And I'm not just talking about a smile plastered on my face after I read it. It must have the right feels in the right places.
Calder and Eden have grown together in a cult led by a man known as Hector. He has created a polytheistic, Greek mythology religion, but other than that, he is really no different than Jim Jones of the Guyana Cult or David Koresh leader of the Branch Davidians. Isolation, brainwashing and harsh physical punishment for disobedience being par for the course.
Calder knows nothing else, but Eden is brought in to the cult when she is around seven years old. The flock is told that when she turns eighteen she will marry Hector and shortly thereafter, the end of the world will come. All the faithful will be taken to Elysium Fields--their heaven. She is secluded in the main lodge, away from the flock, only being taught music and reading the Holy Book.
There is no insta love. Their friendship grows as they play together as young children, and when they're older, love blooms as they sneak off to their hidden spring. He teaches her math and other things she is not allowed to learn.
This is where the feels come in.
I was smitten when I read this: And gods help me, the seed of love that had taken root, the seed I had vowed not to nourish, started to grow anyway... She isn't yours... But something inside rebelled against the words as if the thought itself was a virus to my system.
I was annoyed when I read what Hector's mistress tells Eden: But only a loose, impure woman takes pleasure for herself. You should focus on your husband only.
I was scared for Calder when I read this: Something was wrong. Something had been done to the mat to make it cause injury. And yet, Calder endured it,, his back straight and his body unmoving, but I saw the sweat trickle down the side of his face.
I don't want to get into spoilers, but horrible things are done to both Eden and Calder, and just like the Guyana cult, the man who raised Calder is expected to not only allow punishment, but to inflict it himself.
This book was riveting. I recommend it to anyone who loves a good forbidden romance. Review of Finding Eden to come.