Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Harper Collins
UK Release date: August 2011
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out? (Goodreads)
I've had this book on my kindle for quite a while now, but never got around to reading it. But I'm really glad I did.
When Rhine was kidnapped, she was thrown into this bizarre world in which she was one of three wives to a rich young man looking to have children. What fascinated me most about the story was how each of the wives, really only teenagers, reacted to their new life and learnt to cope. This idea of kidnap and luxurious entrapment really made me think; if I knew I had to spend the rest of my life living in a luxury prison, would I adapt quickly for an 'easy' life or would I never be able to forgive and forget my past life? I guess if this new life was better than your old life (as in Cecily's case, where she had been a poor orphan), perhaps it wouldn't be so bad to live a rich and frivolous life no matter how fake and contrived. In contrast Rhine and Jenna were both strong willed and determined to never forget their past and family.
Despite Linden and his father's attempts to make the family situation seem happy, the reality was creepy, chilling and a little despicable. Touching on issues of polygamy and pedophilia, the story evoked such conflicting emotions in me. On one hand, I found the idea of 13 year old Cecily carrying a child for her husband really sickening. How could such a young girl really understand the situation she was in? And how could Linden not understand what he was doing? But on the other hand, her naivety probably made it easier for her to cope and adapt. Whilst Jenna and Rhine fully understood the gravity of their imprisonment and what they had lost, it was practically impossible for them to come to terms with this new life. It made me feel so sad and angry that they had been ripped from their lives to become sister wives.
Given her situation, Rhine was a wonderfully strong character. In her situation, so many girls could have had a complete breakdown, turned very bitter and angry or just weakly caved in to the situation. But she was kind to the servants, smart and cunning and never gave in to Linden's advances. Her growing attachment to sweet young Gabriel was one of the few lights of hope in that horribly dark house and I really wanted something to develop between them. I also grew to like sullen Jenna, who was quietly shrewd and observant but never let her past life fade.
Wither combines an intriguing and thought provoking plot with wonderfully written and contrasting characters.