A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
Alexis Henderson is a speculative fiction writer with a penchant for dark fantasy, witchcraft, and cosmic horror. She grew up in one of America’s most haunted cities, Savannah, Georgia, which instilled in her a life-long love of ghost stories. When she doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, you can find her painting or watching horror movies with her feline familiar. Currently, Alexis resides in the sun-soaked marshland of Charleston, South Carolina.
I first read a sample from Kindle and once I was quickly done with the free snippet, I went back to my other book but I couldn’t get this one out of my mind. I ended up purchasing the Kindle version and read it in a day and a half. It’s one of those stories where you feel the burn of the fires and look up from reading to see if the characters are sitting beside you because it’s SO real.
Alexis writes magic and her words not only flow easily but are sewn together with an invisible string that leads your eyes from chapter to chapter, not wanting to ever put it down too soon.
I felt a kinship with Immanuelle as I imagine many women and girls do. Her strength as a character is something we all want to see within ourselves or at least believe it possible!
I give this one 5 stars and can’t wait for more from Alexis Henderson!