Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Park Row Books (September 26, 2017)
From highly acclaimed, award-winning author Christopher Meades comes a magical, provocative tale of forbidden love and one girl’s struggle for liberation
Hanna has never been outside her secluded community of Clearhaven. She has never questioned why her father has four wives or why she has fourteen brothers and sisters. And in only one week, on her eighteenth birthday, Hanna will follow tradition and become the fifth wife of a man more than twice her age.
But just days before the wedding, Hanna meets Daniel, an enigmatic stranger who challenges her to question her fate and to follow her own will. Then her mother tells her a secret—one that could grant Hanna the freedom she’s known only in her dreams. As her world unravels around her, Hanna must decide whether she was really meant for something greater than the claustrophobic world of Clearhaven. But can she abandon her beloved younger sister and the only home she’s ever known? Or is there another option—one too fantastical to believe?
With lush, evocative prose, Christopher Meades takes readers on an emotional journey into a fascinating, unknown world—and, along the way, brilliantly illuminates complexities of faith, identity and how our origins shape who we are.
“Beautiful and delicate, Meades has written a powerful meditation on how we define ourselves, the gift and cruelty of faith, and the redemptive act of storytelling. A gorgeous blend of dreamy folklore and gritty reality.” -Erika Swyler, bestselling author of The Book of Speculation
“A strange and beautiful fable with shades of Deliverance, Room, and Winter’s Bone.” -Laline Paull, award-winning author of The Bees
“As she slashes through the mythology that restrains her, Hanna rises like a phoenix. Christopher Meades weaves a feast of paradox and surprise.” -Benjamin Ludwig, author of Ginny Moon
“Compelling and provocative, Meades weaves elements of magical realism into his poignant coming-of-age tale. In Hanna, readers will find a new heroine, one who uncovers the secrets of her repressive society as she journeys toward self-discovery.” -Paula Treick DeBoard, author of The Drowning Girls
“With original characters and graceful prose, Christopher Meades has created an indelible novel about faith, family and love. Your heart will soar and ache for Hanna on her thoroughly original coming-of-age journey.” -Kelly Simmons, author of The Fifth of July
As someone who grew up in a religious family only to delineate from that path as an older teen, I was utterly compelled to follow Hanna’s story. There’s something fascinating about the ignorance involved in not even questioning the beliefs you’re brought up in, and even more so in those that do ask questions but continue to stay entrenched in their ways and those of their families.
This is not to say that this book was solely an exploration of the bad side of religious sects, rather that it played a heavy hand in the events which transpired.
Some people didn’t enjoy that this was magical realism, but I thought it made the tale less harsh, and less like the realities some girls face to this day.
Possibly one of the more lyrical books I’ve read this year, Hanna was a deftly plotted, smoothly paced tale of a girl and her world crumbling then slowly rebuilding as she makes her way through the tangled web of teen angst and finding out everything is not what it seems.
Though it’s billed as YA, do be advised there are some mature themes, and some elements may not be suitable for a younger audience.
Thank you to TLC Book tours and Park Row books for the review opportunity~ 3.75 stars
About Christopher Meades
Christopher Meades is the author of three previous novels, including THE LAST HICCUP, which won the 2013 Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. In addition, Meades’s work has appeared in several literary journals including The Potomac Review and The Fiddlehead. He lives in British Columbia, Canada, with his family.