When She WokeWhen She Woke by Hillary Jordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I expected to be disappointed in this book. In part from the lukewarm reviews, and in part because I often have a hard time with re-telling of books I enjoyed. But when I finally came to this one it sucked me in and I finished it that night.

I think Jordan built a fascinating setting. Yes, there are only so many ways you can go with a fundamentalist Christian society, so if you want, that part was “predictable” but if it hadn’t been it would have been ridiculous. And sticking within the Scarlet Letter story required certain features that I think she pulled off very well with her future interpretations.

The abortion issue was handled in a very balanced way for a book that was clearly never going to say abortion was wrong in and of itself. While the scientific and medical reasoning was presented, Hannah herself never rationalized her decision by retreating behind it.

I won’t give away the spoiler though I know some others have, but I’ll say that was the thing that kept me from giving this five stars. The book’s not brilliant but was completely enjoyable and well paced. But when it got to the scene with Simone, I was thrown out of the world. That just came out of nowhere and I didn’t believe it would happen that quickly. Jordan came close to executing it well enough to be believable, because, I believed that Hannah could eventually go there, but not at that point.

But, honestly, it was a great read and that certainly wasn’t enough to ruin it. I’d recommend the book to anyone interested in a thought-provoking, satisfying read.

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