Synopsis: In the midst of a chaotic midnight assembly, Sunshine is forced outside into the darkness. Holding a scrap of paper scrawled with a stranger’s name and address, Sunny grasps the hands of her three small children and begins her escape.
Liesel Albright always dreamed of starting a family. She never bargained on getting one already in progress. Or one so deeply damaged. When police foil a planned mass suicide at a nearby cult compound, Liesel and her husband, Chris, are transfixed by the evening news. Led by a dangerously charismatic man called Joyful, the Family of Superior Bliss plotted their own deaths to thwart a long-foretold apocalypse. Among the survivors is Sunshine, the daughter stolen from Chris’s life years before. His tragic secret…now his legal charge.
Now, instead of raising a baby of her own, Liesel must play mother to Sunshine and Sunshine’s three small children while Chris retreats into guilt and denial. But a lifetime’s twisted teachings are not easily unlearned—Sunshine hears Joyful’s ominous catechism like a malignant drumbeat in her troubled mind: devastation without salvation. It’s a powerful mantra that’s drowning out Liesel’s loving overtures, and driving her new stepdaughter to finally save them all…in Joyful fashion.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Most of you know how much I love Megan Hart’s stories. Most of the titles of Hart’s that I previously chose, were in the romance genre. But imagine my surprise when I saw this adult fiction title. Excitement didn’t even begin to describe how I felt.
Megan Hart’s All Fall Down is an emotionally powerful tale of family, faith, and self-love. I warn you now, this book talks about some heavy subjects. I think I lost a lot of tears reading this book. Hart does not pull any punches when it comes to the heartbreaking and sorrow. But, to me, that’s a good thing. It is a testament of Hart’s ability to create a story that can bring out those emotions from you. To me, when an author can make you feel like how Hart did in All Fall Down, then it’s a winner.
All Fall Down is a tale of two women, whose lives are brought together from a single event. Together, these two women learn to live.
Sunshine is a member of the Family of Superior Bliss, a religious cult hidden away in the mountains. They believe taking care of the Earth and the vessels are positive actions. Together, they care for the environment and avoid toxins. One night, Sunny’s mother sends her and her children into the world that she spent most of her life staying away from, and straight into the home of her biological father. Will she find herself in this new world?
Liesel has always wanted children in her life, but could not conceive on her own. Her husband, Christopher was indifferent on the subject, and wasn’t enthusiastic enough to seek any sort of assistance when it came to the matter. Unsuspectingly, Liesel became a mother over night, caring for Sunny and her children. Liesel is surprised in the many challenges and difficulties she faces. Will she lose herself amidst the changes?
All Fall Down is an amazing story about a female’s ability to survive. Whether it is Sunny or Liesel, they each have to live through adapting to changes. All of this change! It must be one of the hardest struggles I have had to read. Re-assimilation back into society after living in a cult. I just never thought about this until Hart wrote about it. I never thought about the internal struggles or even the unfamiliarity with things that I’ve taken for granted.
Hart’s story revolves around a small world. Most of the story takes place in a single home. But isn’t this the case for most families? Home is everything to most families, is it not? I found it fitting. But don’t think that is all. Hart includes cultural details for the Family of Superior Bliss. The mentality, the rules…everything just seemed so put together and so organized that I almost believed it true.
All Fall Down is heartbreaking. Each emotion that Hart wrote felt so real. Hart wrote the two sides of the story so well, with each one more powerful than the next. She talks about motherhood in different aspects. From being a mother, a stepmother, or even a grandmother, Hart brings out the varying levels of love that goes with each role.
At the end of the book, Hart includes a play list of songs that she listened to while writing All Fall Down. I reread the book, listening to these songs. It brought out even more emotion than the first read through. It gave scenes importance, that I never thought about the first time. No wonder Hart wrote the way she did. Like I’ve always heard, music feeds the soul.
A great read, but a heavy one. I urge you to read this for the amazing writing and stay for the beautiful story.