The Ash Family

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Berie is caught between what her mother wants and what she wants. Her mother wants her to go to college, to make a better life for herself in a fancy office somewhere. But Berie doesn’t want to go to college. She wants to live a life of purpose, close to the earth, where she can feel free. But she can’t figure out how to make her mother understand that. So after flying off to college, Berie couldn’t find it in herself to register. Instead, she goes to the bus station to go back home. And that’s where she meets Bay. 

Bay tells her about his family. But it’s not his birth family, it’s a family he’s chosen. She’s welcome to visit, and she can stay 3 days or forever. 

Berie gets there, and finds out it’s a farm in the mountains of Appalachia. There are sheep and cows and chicken, people living honestly off the land. They grow their own food and make their own soap, and after dinner they sing or sometimes Dash will tell stories. They all work very hard, but it’s genuine and pure. Berie decides she wants to stay. She has always felt close to nature, and Dash talks about saving the planet. The family is there to help save the planet. It’s all Berie ever wanted. 

Dash renames her Harmony, and little by little, she figures out how to live there, as part of the Ash Family. Harmony works with the sheep, helps with the cooking, starts to make friends. She adores Dash and his passion for the earth. The family starts talking about taking action, and Harmony wants to help. But when another young woman shows up at the farm for her 3-day trial, Harmony finds out it’s someone from her hometown and they actually have friends in common. This new woman doesn’t stay at the farm, and Harmony begins to worry that her slip-up, the way she talked about her past to this stranger, could bring problems for the family. 

As the weeks go by, Harmony becomes more and more entrenched in the Ash Family. But her friends and family at home want more for her, and they try to make contact to get her back home. Harmony must decide what it is she really wants, if she wants to stay part of an isolated family or move back to her family of origin. It’s a decision that could cost her everything. 

The Ash Family is the story of a woman slowly indoctrinated into a small environmental cult. If you’ve very wondered how someone can choose to join a group where they are expected to behave and believe like everyone else, then this novel by Molly Dektar is a must-read. It’s hard to read, as it’s an innocent young woman making choices to live a very difficult life with a very controlling man, but it’s also important as a way to understand how this subtle mind control can take over. 

I listened to the audio book for this one, and narrator Emily Woo Zeller beautifully embodies the voice of Berie/Harmony as she struggles to figure out what’s most important to her and how she wants to live. 

The Ash Family isn’t a perfect story to me. I was a little disappointed in the ending, as there was some ambiguity of what happens to some of the characters, and I wish that Berie had asserted herself more in the end, but there was a lot to like in this novel too. As I said, it’s not the easiest book to read, but it has a lot in it that is important in understanding how we choose what to believe in and how to live. 

Galleys for The Ash Family were provided by Simon & Schuster through NetGalley, with many thanks, but I bought the audio book myself through Audible.
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The Ash Family was a did not finish for me. I couldn't connect with the story or the characters. Thank you for the opportunity.
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This was a DNF for me. I took a long time to write this review because I intended to go back to it but I finally admitted to myself that I just didn’t want to. There was an explosion of cult books last year and some were definitely better than others: unfortunately, for me, this wasn’t one of those better ones. It just didn’t hook my interest. Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read it in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Books in this vein have been having a heyday lately, and this one is no exception. It's interesting to read, and I felt very drawn to - and concerned by - a number of characters and their decisions.
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Writing an unlikable protagonist is always going to ruffle a few feathers. But if you enjoy unreliable and unlikable narrators, stories about cults, and characters who make bad choices then you will enjoy this book.
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For me, the premise was better than the execution. However, as a readers' advisor I know that I will be recommending this...even if I don't know who I would recommend it to just yet. The trouble is, it's not quite suspenseful enough for most suspense fans but I don't know that I would recommend it to literary fiction fans either.
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I wanted to love this one. I love stories about cults, but I struggled to be engaged in the storyline and like the characters. DNF at 29%
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I wanted to like this book more, but have landed on perhaps it is just not the book for me.  I was interested to find out what the resolution would be, but when it came, it seemed too fast, and like it could have (should have) happened long before.  I struggled with understanding the characters and their motivations and could not discern what in their lives would have led them to The Ash Family...but maybe that is the point.  Overall, I kind of muddled through this one.  Thank you NetGalley and publishers for providing an advanced copy for review.
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Another one of my favorite topics - cults. The cult mentality is fascinating to me, and that's exactly what Dektar attempts to explore in The Ash Family. While the story is interesting, and well paced, I felt like the characters could have had more depth, especially the MC. Unfortunately, I didn't feel liek I connected with her enough, and that's why this book was a 3 star read for me.
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Unfortunately, I find that I am not the reader for The Ash Family by Molly Dektar for many reasons. The biggest issue I have is the book's continuous reference to the "false" or "fake" world and the "real" world. The actual news these days is a quagmire of claims of fake news and other such things. To me, it is a dangerous thing to see it mirrored in fiction, particularly in one that has a young adult as the main character and young adults as the potential audience. 

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2019/11/the-ash-family.html. 

Reviewed for NetGalley.
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Just not into it. I read my standard 30% and it just didn't catch me at all. None of the characters were super relatable to me, which was hard.
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People going in for the cult story may be disappointed but this is a pretty great if unconventional “coming of age” story and a love letter to the nature in North Carolina. This book reminds me of the longer reads in short story collections more than a novel. I think people will end up disappointed in the way that the story is told if they go in looking for something like Emma cline’s “the girls” but “The ash family” really is a beautiful and descriptive read that maybe just shouldn’t have been marketed as a book about a cult which makes you think of sinister thrillers.
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I was really excited to read this book, I'm so intrigued by cults and how they get people to stay. I could slightly get why Berie would be interested and want to be part of the Ash Family, but she seemed to go back and forth a lot. I wish she would have been a little stronger of a character and then maybe I would have enjoyed the book. The ending really fell flat for me as well. It started getting really intense and then just flat.
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I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. The idea behind it is intriguing, yet the characters didn't grab me. I couldn't find a connection with Harmony, and the other characters didn't have depth. I think this is a great author in the works, and I look forward to get future writings as she grows.
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Ever wonder what happens inside a "commune"? You know those places that are cults, but hate to be referred to as one? This is the perfect story for your inside look into life on a self sustained commune. 

Berie is destined for college, or so her mother seems to mandate. That's not the life that she had envisioned for herself though. She wants a simpler form of life. A life that she will feel good about living and that will give back to the planet she inhabits. So it seems like fate when she meets a young man seemingly offering just what she's looking for. 

What she finds is a "family". A family that she can spend three days with or the rest of her life. All it takes is one simple decision on her part. Leaving behind the world she knows and giving up any and all physical possessions. At first it seems like the best choice for her, but shortly after she's decided to stay doubt begins to creep up around the edges. 

A story that tests the bonds of true family and corrupt family.
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I do love a book about a cult! This one wasn't one of my all-time favorites but it was pretty good. The story of a young woman leaving it all behind to find something new was well written and fairly compelling. I felt like the main character came off as a bit dim though. I get that she was searching and susceptible to this sort of thing but she never seemed to question anything. A bit of a struggle or some more drama would have been welcomed.
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What a creepy story. Creepy because I’m sure it can, and does, happen. Creepy because the danger is always there, just under the surface, never really spoken out loud. Starts off with a bang, Beryl/Harmony being quickly pulled in and leaving everything behind to join the “family” (aka cult). Admittedly, the story gets a little laggy and drawn out towards the middle but picks up as the end nears. A good one!
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This is the kind of book that makes me feel "icky" (because of the story line) so I had to stop on page 62.
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I had a hard time getting into this book. I enjoyed the premise of it and the plot was good. It just seemed to develop slowly and I really didn’t enjoy the characters.
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I have to be honest that I didn't finish this one. I was looking forward to a fascinating cult story, but something didn't click for me. I loved the premise and the characters, but ultimately I found the story unfulfilling and a bit slow. I REALLY wanted to love this one, but in the interest of not putting myself into a reading slump, I had to put it down. I know lots of people who enjoyed this one, so it probably just wasn't the book for me. If you're looking for a book to spend time with and slowly digest, give this a try.
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