[Hannah Myers | Contributing Writer]
The Father’s House is Larche Davies’ first novel and, according to Amazon, she started writing this book after she fell over her dog and broke her leg. To be honest, you can tell that this was written on a whim.
Lucy is a fourteen-year-old girl, growing up in a religious society that worships a deity called Magnifico. She lives in the house of one of the ‘Fathers’, unlike the other children who live in communes, and are raised by ‘Aunt’ Sarah. This society has one rule regarding women; they are only to be used for child-bearing and domestic duties. And this is only after they have been married off to one of the Fathers of the house. If they’re not so lucky, they’re disposed of to further the holy cause of Magnifico. Lucy, and a few other children, feel the need to break away from the sect.
As someone who has struggled with faith themselves, I did find that this hit very close to home, and some of what Lucy seemed to feel was similar to what I have felt in the past.
It seems very obvious from the get-go that this book aims to teach teenagers history. It seemingly draws on the historic idea that women are for nothing more than bedding, to produce heirs.
The Father’s House seems like it’s trying hard to be a book for adults, but it fails miserably. Davies’ uses the ‘problem novel’ (an adolescent’s first confrontation with personal and professional issues) stereotype for her narrative. It’s written in an easy-to-read style, is based around teaching people history and is all about the life of a teenager. Lucy is embarrassed by her situation in the cult and feels the need to leave. She reeks of teen angst throughout the entire book.
However I do think that the inclusion of religious cults is fascinating, and the way that Davies has written a whole society based around them shows that she has done her research; the cult itself has it’s own land, schooling and even morals. It reminded me of the Amish, Mennonites or the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints.
The Father’s House is an interesting take on what happens inside the world of religious sects, but it does read like it was written by someone who has never experienced one. It is however, a fascinating read once Lucy becomes aware of the reality around her and how her religion may not save her in the end. If you’re looking for a compelling novel about religion, and don’t mind reading young adult fiction, then this book is definitely worth a shot.
Have you read The Father’s House? What did you think? Tweet us @TridentMediaUK.