Publication: June 1, 2021
Pages: 368 pages
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ☆☆☆
Strengths: Unique story
Weaknesses: Some more vague story lines and characters
This science fiction story of parthenogenisis (did I spell that right?) involves a 1970s cult of sorts with just nine women, and their daughters. The one man on site is a mad-scientist who has assisted the original nine women in reproducing without male DNA. There are nine healthy mothers, and their nine daughters, until in-fighting chases several pairs away shortly before a tragic fire leaves all the research destroyed, and two integral figures dead.
Josephine (Girl One) and her mother, Margaret, move to a quiet town where Margaret just wants to forget all the press of the Homestead commune and the 'Miracle' babies. She wants to be a good, normal mother, and raise a happy, normal daughter out of the spotlight that had brought so much hatred and devastation to their lives.
But then Margaret goes missing, and Josephine's childhood home burns. Josephine makes it her mission to find her mom and untangle the mystery that was life on the Homestead with the other eight mothers and daughters. She picks up some interesting partners along her journey, attempting to visit the other mothers and daughters spread around the country, and recreate her mother's journey to find where she ended up and ensure that she's okay.
While the storyline was unique, I also appreciated the subtle social commentary on the necessity of men. Somehow, even when they were creating offspring without a genetic contribution of men, a man was still in charge. And let's just say, it didn't end well.
I'd give this book 3 out of 5 stars. I can totally see the comparisons to authors like Margaret Atwood for the concept, but the writing felt more of a popular style than the speculative fiction and suspense that could have worked with the topic.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my advance electronic copy of this book. Receiving the book for free did not influence my review.