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REVIEW: The Beloved by Alison Rattle

The Beloved by Alison Rattle
Published by Hot Key Books on 5th March 2015
Pages: 286
Source: *Received from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Escape from a bullying mother takes one young woman to an even more dangerous place.

Alice Angel has known only a life of rules, restriction and punishments as she strays from the rigid path of Victorian proprietary that her mother has set out for her. A constant disappointment to all but her doting father, she longs for the day that she might break free from the stifling atmosphere of her mother's rule.

After a chance encounter with a charming stranger, and a final incident with her family that sees her condemned to the madhouse, Alice sees her opportunity to run and grasps it with both hands. She escapes to join the Agapemonites in their Abode of Love, where ex-Reverend Henry Prince rules his isolated colony of women as their Beloved. Prince ignites a passion in Alice that she never knew existed, and she dares to think she might be free at last. 

But as Alice becomes more deeply drawn into the life of Prince's strange religious sect, secrets are revealed that seem to hint at a darker nature lurking behind the man's charm. Instead of freedom, is Alice in fact more trapped, alone and in danger than ever before?
I was incredibly intrigued to read this novel, as it was a theme I had never really read about before... but sadly I had to DNF it with 80 pages to go after consistently trying to finish it across a whole month. I do like the cover though, it is very mysterious and sombre.

Ever since she was a child, Alice's mother hated her in favour for her older brother. And because of this, Alice suffered horrible abuse from her. Though her father loved her dearly, his love for her drove her mother's jealously to constant disappointed and attack towards Alice. But then she meets The Beloved, a man worshipped by all. And this love she thought she felt from him, is what got her trapped, again.

The main character of this novel I sort-of liked. Alice was an interesting protagonist who had obviously gone through a lot of pain and unimaginable abuse, and so therefore I strongly admired her strength. Additionally it was sad to see her consistent belief that she was a bad and horrible person, that she was the cause for everything and anything that went wrong. Alongside this it was sad the way her own mother treated her, and the heartbreak Alice felt that because her brother was mother's favourite, he would not believe a word Alice would say against her. One of the key factors though I did not like about Alice was that she was rather naive, though I can understand she had become this way because of her isolation from the real world, she has not had the experience of interaction with other people and so in comparison to her mother everyone outside their home is like an Angel; but this naivety is what caused most of her problems when The Beloved was concerned.

The plot of this novel was very interesting, however I felt it was the execution that really let it down. It was incredibly slow, especially in the first 100 pages where the same thing happened over and over again, so it therefore became incredibly repetitive and boring, losing its powerful emotion. It was when Alice arrived at Henry Prince's 'abode of love' that I could no longer stand it. I just could not believe they were unable to see what was really going on before them, and I just could not stand him; Henry was just creepy. But the fact that they would cry and become moody if they were not picked was what really frustrated me and caused me to give up, especially because of the way he spoke to them.

Therefore I sadly felt the execution of this novel let it down, which meant I had to DNF this novel at 206 pages.


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