P’lovers Book Club: When She Woke

by Hillary Jordan – $19.99

Hillary Jordan has written a fast paced thriller, an ‘unputdownable’ novel.

The book opens with the main character, Hannah Elizabeth Payne, being found guilty of the crime of murder and hearing that she is to go to prison for 30 days where she will become a Red for a period of sixteen years. The next thing she knows is that she is waking up and discovering that she is red, the solid red of a stop sign, the colour of newly shed blood.

When Hannah is released from the prison, where she had seen no one and talked to no one for thirty days, she realizes that she is free but is still filled with trepidation. Where can she go? Certainly not home. Her mother had made that clear. She would be shunned by the community as a Chrome, a Red.

It is revealed that Hannah loves a married man named the Reverend Aidan Dale. Hannah’s love for this man is so great that she chose prison and ‘chroming’ (becoming red) rather than give his name as an accomplice to the charge of ‘murder’. The reader wonders what kind of man lets someone he professes to love sacrifice her life for him…and that is just one of the many provocative questions raised by this novel.

Feeling she has no choice, Hannah begins a journey towards freedom in Canada. Her journey is filled with terrifying dangers and she has to decide who can be trusted and who is will betray her. Through all these challenges, Hannah discovers her inner strength and her true self.

When She Woke shows what can happen with a totalitarian government and how society behaves towards people who are “judged ” to be of a lesser moral standard by leaders in the community. This book is a gripping read and raises many questions about the effects of narrow values and unforgiving judgements.

The next book is an international bestseller, titled “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin – $17.99

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