Published by Sourcebooks Fire on October 2nd 2018
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After The fire is told in alternating timelines from “before the fire” and ” after the fire”. Moonbeam was a member of the Lord’s Legion, which can best be described as a cult. Her parents joined when she was young and living inside the “fence” is all she has ever known. Before the fire, she was taught not trust outsiders and to only trust Father John who receives the word of God and is preparing the “cult” members for the final battle. After the fire, Moonbeam is in a facility where she is meeting with Dr. Hernandez and Agent Carlyle, she slowly begins to trust and tells them what life was like in the compound and what happened the day of the fire.
I think it is best to go into this book a little blind. The book gets better and better with each small revelation that Moonbeam makes. If you are not too sure what is going on in the beginning of the book, keep reading. The Author does a wonderful job of showing what life is like inside a cult. How brainwashing and fear are used to control and manipulate group members. In the Authors note he shares how the Waco seize of the Branch Davidians who were led by David Koresh was the source of inspiration for this book. He is not talking about or criticizing any Christian faith but trying to show how he imagines that cults work – again using the Branch Davidians as his inspiration.
The more I read, the more I enjoyed this book. The before and after timelines were a wonderful touch. The story unfolds seamlessly. Moonbeam is learning to trust, she has been taught to fear, to be guarded. She has a great inner dialogue and I appreciated hearing her thoughts and enjoyed her courage in taking a chance on not only sharing her experience but also for her being nurturing and supportive to the children who were also at the hospital/care facility with her.
I found this book to be well written and captivating. This book is both thought provoking and tugs on the readers emotions. Many feelings may come up for the reader: shock, disgust, fear, sadness, hope, etc. I felt for Moonbeam, the children, and the other cult members on the compound. This is a well thought out book which shows the evil in some and the resiliency in others. This Author handles the heavy situations with grace and care. This is not a happy go lucky book, but it is not always addressing the negative impact of cults. It also addresses hope, courage, inner strength and the desire to start over.
This book may have some triggers for some.
Thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.