Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for the ARC. It hasn’t affected the content of my review.
Okay, but wow.
So straight up it’s impossible to talk about this book in any depth without giving out information that should be preserved for the reading experience. As spoiler-free as possible is the best way to go into this one. But generally, and this is as far as the synopsis goes, Vesper Wright left her strict religious community six years before the book starts, when she was almost eighteen. The hypocrisy and insulated nature of the community was stifling her, and she never felt like she fit in, and didn’t believe like the others did. Now, she has received a wedding invitation from her cousin Rosie out of the blue, and Rosie is marrying Vesper’s ex-boyfriend, Brody. This seems to be the catalyst Vesper needs to finally go home again, because off she goes, only realizing what a terrible idea this is upon entering her old family home mid-rehearsal dinner, all eyes on her.
But Vesper’s problems are not as simple as family squabbles and disagreements over their creepy religious cult. Things are going on that Vesper never understood as a child, and it would be spoilers to tell you what kind of reaction to those things I had and why. Just know they are WEIRD and things get kind of wild. Also, if you’ve read Rachel Harrison before and complained about a lack of horror, I feel like you won’t be saying that with this book. The second half is probably chock full of stuff you will love, while also giving me what I want, in that I want funny, clever writing and an ending that doesn’t make me want to crawl into my bed and never come out.
I am more and more loving Rachel Harrison’s style. Vesper as a narrator is mean but funny, judgmental and cynical, but you root for her anyway. And the way that Harrison plays with story structure and reader expectations here is so, so clever, on top of her prose really leveling up. Before I switched over to the audiobook from the e-book, I was highlighting multiple lines per page because they struck me as funny or interesting or just really well-written. I was so delighted at certain plot turns of this book that I was literally cackling out loud like a witch and stomping my feet. And the ending, the way that she brought everything together, just really sealed this one for me. On re-read, which I would do with a hardback that I’m going to go out and buy very soon, I’m pretty sure I would just rate this a flat five stars, but it’s one of those books I kind of need to let simmer in my head before committing to that.
Anyway, highly recommend this book, highly recommend this author. I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.
[4.5 stars, rounded up]