Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.
Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl–Rose–running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.
With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father’s age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?
When asked by the author whether I would be interested in reading and reviewing her story, it was fair to say that the sounds of the plot intrigued me. So naturally, I caved and Anne Montgomery send me a wonderful digital copy of the book – something I cannot thank her for enough. A fair description of The Scent of Rain would be a haunting yet captivating account of life in a cult. Although the story is a work of fiction, the reality behind the book is sadly not – this is a reality to some people who cannot see the true horror under their nose.
The pace and tone in The Scent of Rain make it a very easy read. Despite the constant inability to do anything recently, I finished the book within three hours. Despite the sensitive nature of the story, it was very easy to carry on reading as the chapters weren’t incredibly long. While this is a risky tactic, the author pulled it off really well here. Set in third-person, the book takes a mature but simplistic approach throughout the entire story. It isn’t an incredibly difficult read, which only inspires the readers to read a little bit more. As the book is over 300 pages long, it faces the difficulty of becoming too long and boring. However, The Scent of Rain tackles this well, as each part of the story is well thought out and necessary in the unravelling of the mysteries the book hides.
Something I wasn’t completely crazy about in the beginning was the changing of personas. The book would follow one character in one character and introduce a new one in the next. While this is something that is critical to the telling in the story, in the beginning it can be quite confusing trying to remember who is who. It’s only about after ten chapters when it starts to settle down and bit and you find your footing as a reader – and as a book with around one hundred chapters, this could be something that sways readers away from completing the story. Yet towards the conclusion of the story, the switching personas was a very interesting tactic – keeping the book fresh and understandable. It could have been introduced a little better in the beginning however.
When thinking about modern society and the problems within it, cults aren’t the first thing that spring to mind. Most people see them as a minority of society, a small sector of people who believe in religion too much. They don’t see these groups as a threat to anybody’s health or wellbeing – when the sad truth is that these cults are more damaging than you’d expect. This was something I absolutely adored in The Scent of Rain. The author, Anne Montgomery, was not afraid of truthfully portraying a Fundamentalist Mormon cult in America. As an English citizen, the only cult that has touched my life is the Church of Scientology – with the closest church being situated in Manchester, only thirty minutes from where I live. What I, and many of my British citizens, fail to witness is the mass injustice and danger cults have. Perhaps I was lucky growing up, as I studied cults as part of an optional curriculum. I’m all too familiar with the People’s Temple and Jonestown – but there are so many people out there that have no idea. The Scent of Rain creates such a realistic portrayal of life in a cult.
To conclude, this was the first book I’ve sat down and read in a while. And I could not think of a better novel to ease me back into the world of fiction. Essential reading for both young adults and adults alike. There is literally nothing else I can say, except buy this book.