Wedlock, Denis Wright
This young adult novel from NZ author Denis Wright explores the manner in which dangerous cults can target, and draw vulnerable people into their grasp. In this case, Lucy Sorrenson is the daughter of a father who still thinks he's the only teenager in the household. She lives with him and her grandfather - a stronger, more positive man in her life, although now his grip on reality is slipping and Lucy feels like the only grown-up in the place. Until the opening night of her school play, and a strange woman who comes to give her a message from "the Master".
Interesting idea, and it's coincidentally not the first NZ based novel I've read based around cults and their enthralment of young women in particular. Although with this one I was less convinced by the voice of Lucy which didn't quite sit right with this reader. On the other hand the exploration of cult inculcation, the way that Stockholm syndrome works, and the overall transformation of a forthright, independent young woman to a compliant cult member was a worthwhile exploration. More qualified minds than mine will know whether or not this is correctly pitched at young adults, but I have to confess I was conflicted, possibly because I wasn't convinced by Lucy at all, or what felt like a lot of overtly convenient and stereotypical characterisations. Added to those doubts, the resolution was too implausible and I just couldn't lift this into engaging territory.
Lucy Sorrenson is the only grown-up at her place, in her opinion. Her father acts like a teenage muso. Her grandad’s grasp on reality is slipping away and she’s sick of the responsibility of looking after them.
She wants to be in the school play, go to the cast parties, have fun with her friends. But on opening night she is called to the stage door. No one would believe the role she now has to play.
She has been chosen to save the world.
“My name is Charity, Sister Charity. We are members of a religious family and we’ve been observing you for months, my child. You are identical to the young woman in the Master’s visions. You have passed all the tests and are known to us as The Maiden, the chosen vessel for the seed of our Master.”
“The…the seed of the WHAT?”