Who would have thought a book set entirely in a loft where eight women are meeting in secret would be so compulsive? I bought this almost by accident, and wondered if I had done the right thing. But I read it quickly, enthralled not just with the conversation of these women but the way their different personalities, their own moral ground, came through as they argued their course of action.
And a fine balancing act they did too. Some might argue (and it crossed my mind) that these are women who have read nothing their entire lives, they have been told what to believe and what to do, and preached at by men determined to keep them in their place. How could such women make the arguments they did?
It was only a small niggle, however, as the words they use, the analogies, come from their limited environment. What has happened to them and the other women in the colony has jolted them out of their meek acceptance, and I could believe that now we were hearing thoughts which had been smouldering for decades – now finding voice in the extreme circumstances.
Toews kept the tension going right to the end, as I waited to see what would actually happen – and I appreciated that she largely leaves this up to the reader to decide. A quick and satisfying read.