Drought by Pam Bachorz
released: January 25th, 2011
hardcover, 400 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: from publicist for review
description:Ruby Prosser dreams of escaping the Congregation and the early-nineteenth century lifestyle that’s been practiced since the community was first enslaved.
She plots to escape the vicious Darwin West, his cruel Overseers, and the daily struggle to gather the life-prolonging Water that keeps the Congregants alive and gives Darwin his wealth and power. But if Ruby leaves, the Congregation will die without the secret ingredient that makes the Water special: her blood.
So she stays.
But when Ruby meets Ford, the new Overseer who seems barely older than herself, her desire for freedom is too strong. He’s sympathetic, irresistible, forbidden—and her only access to the modern world. Escape with Ford would be so simple, but can Ruby risk the terrible price, dooming the only world she’s ever known?
Review: This was no easy read. It wasn't easy and it wasn't fun reading. The pace was slow and careful, almost like the author's intention was to make her readers feel the same tediousness that the congregants felt gathering water from leaves day after day. Ruby and the congregants were forced to gather water with small pewter cups and spoons from the leaves of forest plants day in and day out. They were starved and not allowed any water or food unless he was happy with the amount of water they gathered. If they didn't reach a specified daily quota, they were beaten by their captor, Darwin West. Ruby's blood has healing properties, so after her mother takes the beatings for the entire congregation, she heals her. It's an ugly violent cycle---and while that's hard enough to read about, it takes up a good part of the first hundred pages of the story. It took me awhile to get through it.
While it was hard to connect with any of the characters because of the bizarre cult mentality, it was also fascinating to read about people who are so overtaken by their beliefs that they give no thought to their own well being. Ruby's father, Otto had mystically healing blood as well, which brought them all together as his followers. Between the blood that Otto left them in vials before disappearing and Ruby's blood, they have kept their people alive for 200 years. The congregants endure a life of slavery, torture and near starvation because they are awaiting Otto's return. They tell themselves that this is what Otto wanted, for them to live this way until he returns to save them. It was a little hard to grasp, but then again, I've seen they way a cult belief can completely take over a person's mind.
Throughout the story, you get little glimpses of hope as Ruby makes plans to fight and free her people and I was glad and not surprised that it ended the way it did. The climax was quite gripping. I see it as a mark of the author's excellent writing that I closed this book each night with a feeling of complete emotional despair for it's character's plight.
If you decide to take this one on, prepare yourself for a very intense and emotionally draining ride.
Visit Pam Bachorz's site here.
Purchase Drought at: Amazon • BN.com • BookDepository