When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.
At nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds herself compelled by his promise of a new life. He ferries her into a place of order and chaos: the Ash Family farm. There, she joins an intentional community living off the fertile land of the mountains, bound together by high ideals and through relationships she can’t untangle. Berie—now renamed Harmony—renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear.
Thrilling and profound, The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness, and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Molly Dektar’s debut novel about life in an off-the-grid cult is dark and hypnotic, and her stunning descriptions of nature make the book buzz with life. To teenager Beryl, the Ash Family sounds perfect—a tight-knit community living off the land in Appalachia, unshackled from consumerism. But from the get-go, Dektar drops hints that things aren’t quite right: locked doors, mind games, and friends who abruptly disappear. As the tension ratchets up, the aspiring utopia starts to seem more and more like a horror show with no escape. But is Beryl already too entrenched to get out? Dektar keeps us guessing until the end.