A home health care nurse, Emily, has to care for a pregnant woman, Pippa, who was put under house arrest after her young daughter wandered off during a religious ceremony and froze to death.
This story seems simple on the outside, but it raises a lot of interesting ethical and legal questions about medicine, religion, and the American justice system. I love the way that the author handled the cult in this book. The fictional cult members are treated as humans by the author and not stereotyped or villainized. I like that the author pointed out how Pippa would be treated more fairly by the justice system if she were Christian. She would have been allowed out of her house for important religious services. The author also realistically shows the public's hostile response to the cult after newspaper articles are published about them. The only thing that bothers me about the cult in this book is Pippa's lawyer calling the group a cult when he's talking to her. It seems unprofessional, and she doesn't react to that word being used to describe her family. That doesn't feel realistic to me.
This book is about family. The reader gets glimpses of dysfunctional families, extended families, and the nontraditional families that the characters created for themselves. It shows that "family" is whatever you make it.
I enjoyed this book, even though I have some issues with it. Emily is a very bland character. I think the author intended for her to be plain, but I had a hard time connecting with her and caring about her. I'm also not sure why Gina and Sam have points-of-view. They are both more interesting than Emily, but their POVs add nothing to the story. Some of the medical stuff, especially the stuff about Spina Bifida, distracted me. It made me curious, but the author doesn't explain it well enough to satisfy my curiosity. I know that Emily is a nurse, but I'm not sure why some of the medical stuff needed to be in the story. Finally, the characters' legal problems are wrapped up too quickly and neatly at the end.
This book is published by a small press, and I know that they probably don't have a ton of money, but I wish that the book had more pages and fewer words on each page. Having a little more white space on the pages would have been easier on my eyes. There are also a few typos.
This book is worth reading because it is extremely thought-provoking. The characters grapple with difficult moral questions that have no clear answers. If you love books that make you think, I'd recommend this one.