Thirty years after a plague destroys civilization, the women in God's Grove, Missouri are entirely subject to their men. At twenty-two years old, Linna Bolt is the barren wife of an abusive husband, alternately pitied and scorned. Although she longs for escape, she can expect no help from her church or her wealthy sister Maya.
Desperate, she takes matters into her own hands, following a dark ritual known only to a few of the town's most daring women. She does conjure a savior, but he's not what she expected. He opens her eyes to the joys of true affection and physical love. He also inspires her to take control of her life, a risky proposition that could be fatal to her and to those she cares for the most.
Reader advisory/trigger warning: This story includes explicit sex, graphic depictions of an abusive relationship, and a heroine who gleefully cheats on her husband.
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The world the Linna lives in is bleak. She knows only the misery of hard work and is married to a merciless Bible twisting tyrant almost twice her age. She longs for someone to love and to love her back with equal intensity.
One day at a forbidden party, she finds a book that just might help her make her dreams come true.
“Some of the older women— ladies in their sixties and seventies who remember the world before The End— say it wasn't always this way. They talk wistfully about hot showers and 24-hour-a-day electricity and how striking a woman was an actual crime. To Linna, it sounds like paradise.”
The Modern Girl’s Guide to Demonology gives her a brief hope that she can wish for a beautiful demon to appear and rescue her from her pain and loveless marriage. But what she conjures may not be a demon at all – but a flesh and blood man who can set her body and soul free.
“Keeping his gaze locked on hers, he moves toward her with the supple grace and certainty of a practiced hunter. She is suddenly and uncomfortably aware of her vulnerability. Where this man, this hawk, looks hard to the touch, she is soft and easily bruised. He is clothed in a shirt and worn-looking jeans; she is naked. He is something wild and supernatural and free; she is human and timid and bound to a husband she hates and fears.”
Mortal Love: After The Fall is unlike any book that I have ever read. The landscape is austere and Linna’s circumstances are brutal. As a reader, I felt her desperation to escape and to experience a life so different than her own. E.J.’s prose is both sparse and direct, which helps paint the desolation of her story.
In the end, I think that this is a brave and uncompromising work and I think that it deserves some seriously daring readers to embrace it…