Publisher: Lake Union
When a family camping trip takes a dark turn, how far will one mother go to keep her family safe?
Struggling with working-mother guilt, Marlene Greene hopes a camping trip in the forest will provide quality time with her three young children—until they see fires in the distance, columns of smoke distorting the sweeping view. Overnight, all communication with the outside world is lost.
Knowing something terrible has happened, Marlene suspects that the isolation of the remote campsite is all that’s protecting her family. But the arrival of a lost boy reveals they are not alone in the woods, and as the unfolding disaster ravages the land, more youngsters seek refuge under her wing. The lives of her own children aren’t the only ones at stake.
When their sanctuary is threatened, Marlene faces the mother of all dilemmas: Should she save her own kids or try to save them all?
For some reason I didn’t pick up on the fact that this was a dystopian novel based on the blurb so when I started reading it, I was a bit surprised. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I’m not opposed to a post apocalyptic book, I just didn’t catch the hints in the description (duh Amy) and I had to adjust my mindset and expectations right away. But once I did I found this book to be a pacey, compelling read though I did have a few issues by the end.
The entire thing is told from Marlene’s point of view and she was a really difficult character to like. She’s brusque and comes across as cold and unfeeling even when she’s in the role of mama bear protecting her cubs. Despite the fact that I didn’t really relate to her on a personal level I was invested in her story and I could relate to her doing her best to protect her children. Her sister in law Joni wasn’t my favorite either, but again these women were fighting for their lives so I tried not to judge them too harshly. But I was shaking my head in frustration quite a bit and wondering what they hell they were thinking?!
This would be the perfect book club read as it poses many tough questions that could provide hours of discussion. How far would you go to protect your children? Would you try and keep other children safe at the possible risk of your own family? Are adults duty bound to step up and care for kids in serious times of need? There’s SO much to talk about here!
This was a page turner that held my attention, there’s something fascinating about seeing ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Furniss is a talented writer who conveyed a strong sense of urgency throughout, I was constantly worried about what would happen next. All was really going great until the ending and honestly, it really disappointed me. I don’t want to say too much but it was a huge cliffhanger and at first I assumed there would be a sequel, then I poked around and it sounds like there isn’t one planned?! It’s a pretty huge letdown and endings are super important to me and without the promise of another book to follow up I’m seriously displeased. Sigh. A cliffhanger is understandable, albeit frustrating, if you know that eventually you’ll get some answers, but never having any resolution always seems like a cop out to me. As annoyed as I am today it wouldn’t stop me from reading another book by Furniss, she really is a good writer so I would definitely give her a second chance!
Overall rating: 3/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.