Published: 28/08/2015
ISBN: 9781784623661
eISBN: 9781784625771
Format: Paperback/eBook



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The Father's House
by Larche Davies

“I can see you,” hissed the Magnifico. “I can hear you. I can watch your every action.” Lucy pulled the pillow over her head as the nightly whispers began. “The fire awaits all sinners, and their flesh will melt away.”

Lucy is a fourteen-year-old girl brought up in a fanatical religious sect that aims to take over the whole world under a deity called ‘the Magnifico’. Children born into the sect are raised in communes headed by ‘Fathers’. For some unknown reason, Lucy and another child, Paul, do not live in a commune, but are strictly raised by so-called ‘Aunt’ Sarah in the ground-floor flat of the Father’s private house. He lives upstairs, and a mystery tenant lives on the second floor.

Lucy’s experience of life is limited to the ground-floor flat, prayer meetings and the Magnifico’s school, where children are educated with the aim of infiltrating influential positions in the outside world, working as skivvies or breeding future followers of the Holy Cause. When she suffers humiliation at school assembly, her trust in the religion begins to collapse, and through two school friends she learns some of the secrets of the sect.

Her aim is to escape before she is sixteen, when she will either be compulsorily married to one of the Fathers in the name of the Magnifico, or disposed of as unsuitable to further the Holy Cause. She does not know whom to trust and wants to formulate an escape plan, but the matter is taken out of her hands when the Father’s enemies invade his house and she has no choice but to flee...

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5 out of 5 stars

This book had me hooked from the first few pages. I was expecting it to be set in USA and not London and had no idea that things like this may happen over here ( though I know it's fiction). Lucy is a courageous heroine, even though her life has been so sheltered. The ending made me happy!

by Emily Bentham


5 out of 5 stars

Much better than I expected after I first started it. The action really moved along and kept me wanting to read. Entertaining and engaging.

by Patricia Leto


Lucy is a fourteen year old girl, growing up in a religious society that worship a deity called Magnifico. She lives in a house of one of the fathers, unlike the other children who live in communes, and is raised by 'Aunt' Sarah. This society has one rule regarding women; they are only to be used for child-bearing and domestic duties, once they have been married off to one of the Father's of the house...or disposed of to further the holy cause of Magnifico. Lucy, and a few other children, feel the need to break away from the sect. As someone who has struggled with faith themselves, I did find that this hit very close to home, and some of what Lucy seemed to feel was what I too experienced.

It seems very obvious from the get-go that this book is to teach teenagers history, drawing on the idea of the 1950's, or even long before; that women are for nothing more than bedding, to produce heirs.

The Father's House seems like it's trying so hard to be a book for adults, but it fails miserably. Davies' uses the "problem novel" (an adolescent's first confrontation with personal and professional issues) stereotypes for her narrative. It's written in an easy to read style, is based around teaching people history and is all about the life of a teenager. Lucy is embarrassed by her situation in the cult and feels the need to leave. She reeks of teen angst throughout the whole book.

I do think that the inclusion of religious cults is fascinating, and the way that Davies has written a whole society based around them shows that she has done her research; the cult itself has it's own land, schooling and even morals. It's reminded me of the Amish, Mennonites or the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints.

The Father's House is an interesting take on what happens inside the world of religious sects, but it does seem like it was written from someone who has never experienced one. It is, however, a fascinating read once Lucy becomes aware of reality around her and how her religion may not save her. If you're looking for a compelling novel about religion, and don't mind reading young adult fiction, then this book is definitely worth a shot.

by Katie Noble


 

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