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The Scent of Rain

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Member Reviews

I was amazed with this read. The story line flowed beautifully. The transition between adult and teen perspective, as well as, cross cultural references was seamless.  I was not disappointed.
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This story is a fascinating look at fundamentalist groups. Having wat he’s documentaries about FDLS, I was nervous going into this book but found it to align with what that experience seemed to be like from the documentary standpoint. This story was thrilling, and sad, and heartbreaking, and exactly what I was hoping it would be.
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This book really wasn’t my cup of tea. The idea was something I wasn’t used to, but though should give it a try
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This story about a teenage girl trying to escape from a fundamentalist mormon cult hits many great notes but falls short due to it's similarity to so many other novels that follow this trope.   This book does get into some details of fundamentalist life that other books but otherwise, it is pretty cookie cutter.  Plot:  beautiful, smart teen grows up as part of a cult, becomes disenfranchised with the atrocious behavior of her townspeople and seeks to escape, only to capture the eye of the creepy pedo cult leader who of course wants to marry her.  There's a second story line of sorts here about a Hispanic teen who becomes a part of the foster system due to his mother being deported back to Mexico due to her undocumented status (which is certainly relevant in modern times) who goes on to become a love interest of sorts to Rose.   I did find myself rooting for Rose as this novel went on, but I feel like many of the other characters weren't very well developed and I didn't really care about what happened to them or why they behaved the way they did.  If that had been the case, I would have likely rated this higher.   In any case, I did enjoy the read and would recommend it to anyone interested in Mormon cult life.
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Super fascinating. I was really emotionally invested in this. The writing was gorgeous and really gave this piece an edge that i wasn't expecting. It also feels a lot more genuine than what little other stuff I've seen about fundamentalist Mormon culture/people. Definitely recommend if you're looking for something a bit on the heavier side but totally worth it.
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Unfortunately this book was a DNF. I really wanted to like this book because of the premise but unfortunately I didn't. The writing style  wasn't for me. It was too descriptive for my taste. The many adjectives slowed down the action too much for me
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This must be the year of depressing reads! The Scent of Rain will chill and shake you to the core, as the book is portraying life in the Mormon Fundamentalist cult, where kids are abused in the name if religion and the Leader is a maniac pedophile! 

Anne Montgomery's writing style is soothing and real. I especially liked that the story is told from multiple POVs, with heart warming surprises here and there. The author managed to weave beautifully both horror and love, and the faith in human beings that care ultimately for the moral right. 

I missed more of Adan's background, though I understood that the central character is Rose. Her story is the main trigger of disturbia, having an eye opening effect for the normal people living alongside the cult, who've been ignoring the horrors for long years. 

I say this is a must read! The book is utterly captivating and mature, managing to bring the reader close to the happenings in a sort of magical way, though honestly I would never consider going there in person. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Tragic, disturbing, captivating, but utterly fantastic!

The Scent of Rain’s blurb promised I would find a tragic story about a teen girl’s life inside a Mormon fundamentalist (FLDS) group.  This story delivered her heart-breaking story along with a few unexpected surprises.

Rose Marsden is older than the average age most girls are married off to an elder man in the Mormon Fundamentalist (FLDS) community she’s a member of.   She doesn’t know much about life outside the community but she knows she doesn’t want to be forced into marriage and she knows the abuse handed down from her mother isn’t right.  With bravery Rose doesn’t know that exists within her she runs away from the only community she has every known.    Adan Reyes is a teen run away from a foster home.   Almost dead on the road from heat stroke a local handyman/former military medic Trak finds Adan and takes him home to recover.  Adan grows leery that Trak will call child protective services so he runs away for a second time.  And for a second time he succumbs to heat stroke but this time is found and rescued by Rose.  Now Rose and Adan are being tracked by the FLDS and when found the FLDS has different plans for the both of them.

OMG. Read this book! I have seen TV programs about these Mormon Fundamentalist communities but reading this story just shocks you to your very core because you realize these groups are less about religion and more about mind control and using religion as an excuse to abuse children.  This author does a fantastic job placing you inside the fundamentalist community as well as outside in the non-fundamentalist (normal) community that resides near it and what they witness and ultimately do nothing about.  This story is told from multiple points of view but mainly from Rose, Adan, and Trak.   What I really enjoyed about this story was the ability of the author to write a story from the point of view of the various villains; the Prophet of the FLDS group that has had 70+ wives, the Marshall of the local police department that hides behind his legit law enforcement job but his priority is a committed FLDS leader, and finally Rose’s abusive horrible mother.   The only minor complaint with the story is I had hoped for more background on Adan.  He was a victim in the foster care system and I felt a little more should have been told to build his story out a bit.  You really don’t learn a whole lot of what he endured in the foster care system.  Besides that minor complaint, this is a page turning story that is interesting, shocking, and sad but there is happiness and a few unexpected heroes at the end.

When I finished this book it very much reminded me of the book All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood.  Though the stories are vastly different the vibe felt the same so I think fans of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things would like The Scent of Rain.  I would recommend this book for readers age 17+.  There isn’t much language but there is some violence and the subject matter of FLDS communities is not for younger readers.
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I enjoy reading books with FLDS characters. This story was a little disjointed for me. The ending was rushed and unbelievable. I do appreciate the fact that the author has tsken the time to research the FLDS community and spotlights the abuse going on there. Flora Jessop is an amazingly strong woman.
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I really wanted to love this story about a fifteen year old girl who begins to question her upbringing in the Fundamentalist Mormon Church who decides to run away. Unfortunately I was never invested in any of the characters, their stories or their struggles. I found the many point of view characters stretched the story too thin and didn’t allow for character development. The inclusion of so many characters and their variety of backgrounds made the story feel really fragmented and prevented any kind of comprehensive flow. This isn’t a story I would be able to recommend.
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REVIEW
I am quite fascinated with learning about different cultures and ways of life, and find the TV programs about the FLDS, Mormons, Amish, Polygamists etc fascinating. Some people call these organisations, and refer to these as cults, where others would call them religions or "ways of life". I find the people that take part in these programs intriguing. So when I read the blurb of this book, it did immediately grab my attention. I was also interested that the author Anne Montgomery had spoken to Flora Jessop, who escaped this way of life twice and who now helps others that want to leave these communities.

The cover shows a young female  kind of hiding behind her long blonde hair. This female I would say is a good representation of Rose - one the main characters in the book. The title doesn't really give a great deal of information about the book or its contents but as you finish you reading you understand why it is the title. I'd say that "The Scent of Rain" represents the fact that the rain washes things away, both physically and metaphorically within the book. The title is a way of saying that the bad things can be washed away for Rose, Adan and even to an extent Brooke and that they can start anew. 

I would say this book has more than just one main character. There is 16 year old Rose, who has been born into a branch the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that still practiced polygamy and were situated in Colorado City, near a small town called Hurricane. We meet Rose as she is down at the creek, she knows she should hurry home back to her chores but cannot resist putting her bare feet in the creek and wading in the cool water enjoying the sunshine first. When she returns home she knows she will be in trouble and she is severely punished by her mother Bliss. Bliss calls her daughter recalcitrant, (rebellious & unruly) and insists her daughter should remain clean and tidy at all times and dress and behave in line with the requirements of their Prophet, Eldon Higbee. Bliss regularly quotes the following to Rose "Dirty clothes prove one harbours dirty thoughts!"
Women and young girls should dress in a certain style of dress, that is to be made in a plain pastel colour and have a high neck, cover the arms and reach the ankles. The women are told to never cut their hair but to braid and roll it up high in their head. When Rose cannot confirm with all these stringent requirements it is common for her mother to strike her repeatedly with a wooden spoon, slap and strike her and put her in a small, dark room within her mothers closet, leaving her with no food or water. Rose's father, Logan Madsen stands by as his daughters are punished, just telling Bliss "Don't mark the face, mother!" A mark on the face would reduce Rose's potential to be married. One of Rose's regular chores is to wash and dress her younger sister Daisy. Sadly Daisy is disabled both mentally and physically, she has a genetic condition caused by the inter breeding of bloodlines within their community, called Fumarase Deficiency.
The community was originally created by just two families, the Barlows and the Jessops, and with the practice of polygamy and relatives marrying relatives, it has caused lots of birth defects. Later in the book a character called Dr Chase Allred actually attempts to explain the problems and how to prevent further genetic problems to the community but is just ignored as the people blindly believe that God wants them to live and procreate in this way. Any child that is born disabled is considered a punishment from God, sort of a "cross to bear" and be hidden away. God sends them to remind them to strive to be better, to reach their goal of one day joining him in the celestial kingdom. Everyone thinks that Daisy is stupid and doesn't know what is going on around her. Yet, on at least three occasions she shows she understands what is going on around and that in her own way she can communicate. When Rose washes Daisy she loves to splash in the water. Daisy also attempts to communicate with a little parakeet that was found and put in her room. It is the little parakeet and the fact the Prophet Eldon Higbee orders all pets and animals that are not working ones or for food must be killed by the person who owns them. There is an horrific scene where Logan and Bliss demand Rose help them place the parakeet in Daisy's hands so that they can move her hands and kill the animal! I won't reveal exactly what happens but the result is Rose running away.
I love that no matter what is done to Rose throughout the book she still keeps her spirit and she certainly needs that and a whisper of hope to survive everything that is thrown at her in this book.
Another character I love is 17 year old Adan, who is also running away, but is lucky to be found dehydrated and barely concious by Trak Benally. Trak was a medic in the army and his best friend is Dr Chase Allred. Between them they care for the mystery boy who tells them he is already 18 and is called Andy. Adan has no idea about the polygamist community nearby, yet become curious about Rose when he glimpses her on a few occasions. They end up together at one point, both trying to help the other within some really scary situations, but I won't go into those.
Another character in the book who I initially disliked but then in the end felt a little pity and sympathy towards was Marshal Sterling Buttars who is supposed to be head of the law enforcement for the area. However Sterling Buttars is a member of the community ruled by Prophet Eldon Higbee. So when problems arise and the Prophet orders them to be "taken care of" Sterling Buttars does as he is told as he is afraid of not getting into the celestial kingdom, or even having his wives taken away and being banished. 
Logan Madsen has two wives and they are striving to please the Prophet so that he will assign them another wife. As when you have three wives and are procreating regularly you are almost guaranteed your place in the celestial kingdom with God! Though this doesn't excuse his behaviour and turning a blind eye to the harsh treatment of his daughters it reveals what his reasoning and motivation is. 
When Sterling Buttar has to kill his pet dog he begins to resent the Prophet and his orders. Then when his youngest and third wife, Bonnie is found dead with her head and face battered he cannot just hide the crime. He ends up having to face up to what has happened and eventually the shock of who has killed Bonnie!
Brooke, the new child protection officer continues to come to dead ends in all the cases she has to pick up from the last person in the job. The majority of the reports were made by a man called Bob Wayland, a science teacher at the school. However Prophet Eldon Higbee has decreed that all the children should be home schooled and it appears that Bob has disappeared into thin air. Though there are plenty of little hints as to what may have happened to him when the school closed.
I could seriously go on and on about this book, it felt like a whole book series compacted into one book! The Scent of Rain covers so much, from the cult like community of polygamists continuing traditions that are not supposed still be happening, to the "outsiders" that live in the surrounding area. Then there's the different plots within the book, of a runaway boy called Adan hiding something, a young woman called Brooke who is harbouring her own secret and has just moved to the area to take over the job of Child Protection Services, to a man undercover in the area looking into unsolved disappearances in the area. This does sound a lot and makes you wonder how it all dovetails together but it really does. Almost everything leads back to the cult like society with its secrets and what some would call strange ways and traditions. 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, though did find myself on occasion being irritated when the chapters changed and we moved onto something happening with another character when I wanted to stay with the one whose story I was engrossed in. It's a shame that this is a standalone book as I would have loved to read more about both Rose and Adan. As well as learning what happened to the characters that remain in the polygamist community, and those outsiders who have vowed to help anyone who wishes to escape as well as uncovering what happened to those people that just disappeared.
My immediate thoughts when finishing the book were, that is was an intriguing yet shocking story. This author has done extensive research into the culture and ways of life of those depicted in the book. It certainly makes you think twice about the poor children born into this way of life, and the fact they have little choice but to do as they are told.
I also want to add that this isn't a book you read and switch off from. It is thought provoking, both whilst you are reading it and after finishing it. I find it incredible to think that there could quite possibly be children out there in the same sort of position as Rose right now! Then thinking about Adan and his character is also a realistic story line today. We think, or I know I would like to think we live in a civilized society but the realism in this book and many other realistic fiction books certainly proves you don't know exactly what is happening behind closed doors! The Scent Of Rain is a book that stays with you, that you continue to think about long after finishing to read it.
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Review originally posted on 3-28-16

This book was great. I couldn't put it down, because it was fast-paced, yet well paced, and the characters and plot were great. 

First off, the characters were very 3-dimensional. Most of them (Aside from 'The Prophet') had clear motivation and reason for what they did. The good ones were very likable and the bad ones were hatable, yet they still had reasons for doing what they did, which is something a LOT of book characters lack. 

The overall plot was well structured, but one complaint I do have is that, in the beginning, there are a lot of PoV changes and very short chapters. It's confusing, being thrust into the world of multiple characters, with only two or so pages to get to know the people. 

However, I do think this book is very important. I have never read, or even heard of, a book that tackled the topic of these cults. This book faced it head on, with no victim-blaming or sugarcoating. While the issue may seem like it's not prevalent, it's a real problem that needs to be addressed, but isn't. 

The only thing that frustrated me was the lack of action by authority. Trak, Brooke, Chase didn't really DO anything to help the kids of the cult, or even Rose. Even Beth didn't do anything and she KNEW what would happen to Rose. Someone is expressing that they will, in fact, marry an underage child and with that come the implication of rape, since we all know that the main thing Higbee wanted (besides pleasure) was children. 

No one did anything. Rose had to be a second away from being raped, and Higbee had to be hit in the head with a hammer by Rose's father before the proper authority helped Rose, before she could be saved. That's not okay. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It talks about a lot of crucial subjects and shines light on these topics that people don't know much about. It's very well rounded and quite a solid story that I really enjoyed.
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The Scent of Rain

by Anne Montgomery

Treehouse Publishing Group



General Fiction (Adult) , Teens & YA

Pub Date 28 Mar 2017 

I am voluntarily reviewing a copy of The Scent of Rain through the publisher and Netgalley:

Rose Madsen has grown up in the FLDS, forced to be homeschooled by the "prophet" the local public school is closed.

Adan has not planned his escape well.  Stuck in the middle of the desert with no food or water

Track Benally is driving through on his way home to visit his family when he noticed a boy laying in the Desert immediately his Army Medic training kicks in.

Rose has been taught the prophet should always be foremost in her mind so when he is arrested she has him on her mind.

Daisy is four years Rose's junior and disabled.  Many think she cannot comprehend anything including their Mother butrodsecknows better.

Rose endures abuse for daring have a mind of her own, telling her parents she does not want to get married, and when they inform her she is soon to be married off, she asks them who will care for Daisy.

When Eldon Higbe is released from jail after four months over a hundred people are their to welcome the prophet Home.

Her parents tell her no one would ever want Daisy, and that they would be better off if she died.

Soon the Prophet declares they must kill all non essential animals, and that means Daisy must kill her pet.

While at the creek Rose meets the town Marshall's third wife, and she tells her of her plan to escape and asks Rose if she'd like to go along.  Soon the women is found dead, murdered.  Bonnie Buttars the Marshal's third wife is murdered.

It comes to light soon that the reason behind the Prophet's decree to homeschool all the children came from the cases of abuse.  Fifty seven had been reported.

Rose runs off after freeing her sister's bird and heads for the caves where she finds Adan dehydrated and hungry.  She is fearful of strangers but she can't leave him there to die.

Soon Rose hears a search party and she knows if she's caught she will be severely punished.

When they are found and someone tries to stab Adan Rose stands in the way and gets stabbed in the chest.  Adan not carrying what happens to him goes to find help.  When the medic tells her parents their daughter needs a specialist or will likely die her Mother refuses but her Father steps in and agrees to having her transferred to see a specialist.

While visiting Rose in the hospital the prophet decides that she will be his seventy fifth wife.  Rose ends up being taken from the hospital by the woman determined to please the so called Prophet.  Her finally determined not to see his daughter hurt More seeks help in getting her back.

The Scent of Rain is the story of a tragic, intolerable situation, but it is a story of Hope and love as well.

I give The Scent of Rain five out of five stars.

Happy Reading.
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The background of this book (fundamentalist Mormonism) was fascinating and well researched.  It was tightly plotted and suspenseful.  Recommended!
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