by kdowli01 (Falls Church, VA): I haven’t read much speculative fiction, so this was fun to explore. It was really unique and had a lot to think about. This would be great for book clubs to explore some of the themes it brought up. Thanks to @netgalley and @celadonbooks for the early copy.

Synopsis: Vera grows up in a small village in the mountains, where there are no strangers, it is believed to be the most beautiful place around, and the villagers face a strange affliction–on occasion, some mothers will simply vanish into thin air. When Vera becomes a mother herself, she tries to figure out how to stay, looking for signs that she might be the next to “go”.

The writing was absolutely beautiful, and I was completely captivated by the story. It brought up key themes about identity and motherhood, and how women balance the expectations they face (or place on themselves) with maintaining their own identity but also wanting to be everything for their child.

The whole book evokes this really sad feeling, even parts that aren’t necessarily sad. It’s like the characters are constantly on edge for something to go wrong.

I did think some parts dragged a bit, and perhaps if I was a mother myself, I would have connected to it more. Also, what the heck was going on with the women licking men’s blood during sex? Forget the disappearing women, that part was the weirdest!

I definitely enjoyed this, and appreciate how unique and thought provoking it was!