After the Fire by Will Hill

I bought this book after my fave chick-lit author and fellow ex-Doncastrian Lindley Kelk recommended it on her Instagram stories. 
From the blurb:

The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.


Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.


Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.


What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

Before: Moonbeam has lived at the Lord’s Legion base/compound for most of her life.  She has always believed that Father John is the prophet of the Lord, that he is God’s messenger on earth, and that Outsiders are Servants of the Serpent.  

After: Moonbeam and some of her younger Brothers and Sisters have survived the devastating fire at the Lord’s Legion. In a small psychiatric facility outside of Texas, Dr Hernandez and F.B.I. Special Agent Carlyle try to piece together what happened on the day when so many members of the legion died. 

Dr Hernandez keeps telling Moonbeam that she can trust him, but all she hears is the voice of Father John, screaming that they are EVIL, they are THE GOVERNMENT and she will not Ascend if she is tainted by their lies. 

Moonbeam tries to work out if Father John was telling her the truth all those years, and who she can truly trust…

I can describe this book in one word: Powerful. This book is incredible, it’s is intense, moving and heartrending. I am fascinated by extremist cults, and think that Will Hill handled the subject matter very well. In the acknowledgement at the end of the book, he states that this book isn’t intended to offend anyone’s religion. 

I think it is very clear in this book that Father John was a manipulative, vile man, who used other people’s beliefs to his advantage. Father John twists the faith of the people who put their trust in him, lulling them with promises of redemption and paradise whilst taking all their belongings and free will away from them.

The book is told from the perspective of seventeen year old Moonbeam, and split between chapters set Before & After the day the government agencies executed a warrant against the Lords Legion, and things went terribly wrong. 

Moonbeam is burdened by guilt at what happens, her mounting scepticism, and terror of Outsiders. 

I wouldn’t even class this as Young Adult – the story is told from the perspective of a teenager, but the themes and content are for adult readers in my opinion. If you are interested in this subject, I would recommend the film The Sacrament, which was also based loosely on the Jonestown massacre (see trailer linked below).

This book is everything I was expecting from The Girls and more. Read it. 5🌟 on Goodreads. 

Cheerio!

Stephani Xxx

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