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The Ash Family

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3.50  ·  Rating details ·  265 ratings  ·  143 reviews
When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.

At nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds
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Hardcover, 345 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Simon Schuster
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  265 ratings  ·  143 reviews


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Tucker (TuckerTheReader)


*2.5 "disappointed" Stars

It really hurts me to write this review. It truly does. I honestly hate trashing books. Well, that's not totally true. I love trashing Six of Crows but only because I despise that book and there are plenty of positive reviews. But because this is a debut, I feel really bad giving it a negative review. Also, Simon and Schuster were very generous to give me an ARC and they ask for an honest review. So here it is:

I don't have much experience with cults and covens (I mean no
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Larry H
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Berie is unsure of what path to follow with her life. She seeks something more meaningful, something more essential, but she hasn't any idea of what that is until she meets enigmatic Bay at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Bay promises Berie the life she's been imagining, on a farm cut-off from the rest of the world, where they live communally, fully off the grid.

"This was the real world, he explained, and if I stayed I'd get a real-world name to replace my fake-world one. He said
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Elyse Walters
Faith Healing for *Harmony*!!! ( real name was Beryl or Berie for short)
Laughing yet? I wanted to....
but unfortunately- I only laughed when sharing ‘about’ this novel with my husband during reading ‘breaks’.
I’d read Paul a few paragraphs. His questions made me laugh.
Paul asked me “what are the rules about soap?”
“I don’t know, Paul. The ‘rules’ about soap wasn’t explained clearly....only that it was a ‘rule’ to follow along with a list of other rules at the ASH FAMILY FARM”.

I’m 66 years old. I
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Bam
*3-3.5 stars

Beryl is being pushed by her mother to go to college but instead she wants a deeper connection with the 'real' world, with nature. Her mother takes her to the airport to fly to school but Beryl decides to sneak off on her own instead.

While waiting at the bus station, Beryl is approached by a guy named Bay who lures her into returning with him to an isolated commune in the hills of NC. The life there sounds just like what she's been dreaming of--a deeper connection with the natural w
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Ginger
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
So I guess Dektar was giving is a 'cult 101' class with this story.
I was left feeling a bit *meh* after reading it, I was obviously expecting something else. I thought it was going to be a slightly dark and twisted novel. I found more of a soul search inspirational novel that wasn't quite fully executed.

Putting those pre conceived expectations for fiction occult novels aside, Dektar wrote some interesting characters.
Our little friend, Berie aka Harmony, is 'chosen' to come and live with the Ash
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Donna
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
My girl, my girl, don't lie to me
Tell me where did you sleep last night
In the pines, in the pines
Where the sun don't ever shine
I would shiver the whole night through

My girl, my girl, where will you go
I'm going where the cold wind blows
In the pines, in the pines
Where the sun don't ever shine
I would shiver the whole night through
- American Folk Song (Leadbelly version)

This book was intriguing, a curiosity. It tells of a young woman's introspection and confusion as she leaves her life behind and
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Bandit
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh I just love cult stories. They don’t even have to be overtly sinister cults, the ones camouflaged as back to nature communes, like the Ash Family, will do also. And so I was really interested in this book and quite enjoyed it, albeit conditionally, enjoinment mixed in with frustration at the naïve idiocy of the protagonist. Then again, naïve idiocy is usually something of a prerequisite for these things, mixed in with misguided well intentions and misplaced optimism. Qualities as inmate to cu ...more
Marjorie
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Berie is 19 years old and is very unsure about going to college. It’s her mother’s dream, not hers. When she meets a stranger named Bay at a local bus station, she decides to give his off-the-grid community a chance. They tell her that she can stay three days or forever so she has a little time to decide. She’s always felt a connection with nature and wants to help save the world and thinks that this community, known as “The Ash Family”, is the answer so she decides to stay. She’s given a new na ...more
Jessica Sullivan
There’s just something inherently fascinating about cult stories: What makes someone give up their life to join one? How do they become seduced by it despite the red flags? When and how to utopian ideals transform into something dangerous and controlling?

Seeking something more out of life than college and settling down, 19-year-old Berie joins the Ash Family, a community of eco-terrorists living off the grid in the woods of North Carolina.

Drawn to their “essential” lifestyle, she is determined t
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Karen
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teenager Berie makes a snap decision to get in a car with a stranger named Bay. Her life will never be the same as she is pulled into the web of a charismatic cult leader who runs an off-the-grid farm. A jarring and thought-provoking story of exploiting vulnerability and highlighting how easily someone can get sucked into mind games and manipulative tactics of a madman. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Alison Hardtmann
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Ash Family is a farming commune in the mountains of North Carolina. Berie is a young woman who doesn't know what she wants and has let her mother and her boyfriend tell her what to do until the moment she leaves for university and decides not to go, turning around and taking a bus to Asheville. At the bus stop, she encounters the charismatic Bay, who brings her to the Ash family farm and where she learns to work with farm animals, and is drawn into the close and tightly controlled group led ...more
Chelsea
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-star
DNF @ 20%

A mild debut with promise sprinkled about, but not enough to keep me reading. The story details a girl who joins a cult, but it is not nearly as interesting as it could have been. The writing is a bit choppy and, while the author makes some beautiful observations here and there, it mostly reads as meandering and unfocused.

However, this is definitely a book where I could see the author writing something brilliant after she’s had more practice!
Joy Clark
This book sounds so good - there's a cult, it's Appalachia, the blurb says something about missing people. Ideally, you should have the trappings of a thriller, but the blurb is misleading. This is not what I would call a thriller, and honestly I was rather bored through half of it. The pace finally picks up a bit at the halfway mark, but it still slows, reving up in fits and starts like an old clunky car. Perhaps I'm being unfair, because there are good parts. The book tells the story of Beryl, ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/
"Why would you want to leave, when you’ll have more freedom here than anywhere else?” He said. The family’s father, Bay said, was Dice, and Dice would understand me the way a lightning bolt would understand a rod.

At Nineteen years old Berie doesn’t intend to go to college despite the plane ticket to Richmond, Virginia. That is her mother’s plan, not hers. She leads her mother to believe in it, going so far as to say goodbye at the airport, her m
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Tami
When I began this book, I was fairly certain it would end up as a DNF for me. However, I was interested enough to keep reading and give it a chance. While I did have some issues with the story, I also was intrigued and engaged with what was happening.

A young woman named Beryl is headed to college, but suddenly decides to go off the grid and join this “family” and take a new name, cutting all ties with her former life. I never did understand why Beryl’s life was in such a state that she felt comp
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Basic B's Guide
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you so much @simonbooks for the free book and bringing this book to my attention.

Wow, talk about sneak attack! This book slowly builds with vivid descriptions and tension and then AHA! I was full on pacing my house while reading the last hundred or so pages and shouting curse words (I was alone thank goodness). Now that the adrenaline in my body is back to normal, I can rest easy and breathe.

Ever since reading THE GIRLS I’ve been looking for a cult story that hit all the marks and I really
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Isabelle
I received an advance review copy through Netgalley. This does not affect my rating or opinions.

2.5 stars.

This was interesting enough that I made it all the way through — though there were multiple moments when I told myself I would just finish one more chapter then DNF and move on — but maybe I've just read too many stories about cults and communes? Because this one had no impact whatsoever; I wasn't invested in any of the characters, or the setup. Beryl/Harmony is naive and lost, with a desire
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chels marieantoinette
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
3.5 stars. Meh. This book was just OK for me. It was very well written and pretty interesting and thought-provoking, but I wanted it to be more “culty.” Mostly this cult just herds sheep, kills animals, and speaks to each other in short, cryptic sentences. I have a hard time with books in which I don’t find any characters endearing- especially the main ones. Bernie/Harmony was a selfish idiot and I didn’t find myself caring about anyone else (besides the poor, neglected animals on the farm), rea ...more
Anne
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read several books about cults and enjoyed them all, but this one was quite different in the haunting way the story unfolds. Berie (aka Harmony in the Ash Family compound) is a nineteen-year-old woman who is supposed to board an airplane for college, when she meets the magnetic Bay at a bus stop and he convinces her to travel with him to their mountain community. Their credo is, "You can stay 3 days or the rest of your life." Sounds appealing, right? But of course we know how these enigmati ...more
CloudOfThoughts_Books Keirstin
The Ash Family by author Molly Dektar is a book about doing what makes you happy. What you THINK would make you happy. Full of ambition, the main character quickly finds out that things are not always as they seem. A great book with a great plot!
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an arc copy of The Ash Family in exchange for an honest review.
Wendy P
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
A perfectly fine book, with interesting cult aspects. I only gave it three stars because it dragged in places for me with overly detailed descriptions of minutiae.
Leesa
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolute beauty beauty beauty on a sentence level if you love words and writing abt land/nature/animals/emotions/trees/desire/regret/connection/the untouchable/etc. A work of art. I've loved Molly Dektar's writing for years.

(And this book doesn't answer every question it asks and that's okay imo. Life, right?)
Brooke Sillaby
Nothing really happens in this book. You don't get to know much about the characters, not even the main one. The only reason I'm not giving it a 2 star rating is because the writing was good. It kept me reading, even though the book dragged on.
angelareadsbooks
Darkly poetic, The Ash Family is the story of Berie as she joins a cult in the back country of North Carolina. Leaving for college, she makes a decision to follow a man she met at bus station. What follows is an account of her time in the community and wrestling with the question what makes someone join a cult.

I found the story to be compelling and thought provoking, though a bit slow in places. But it left me with a lot to ponder. Who are we really and what forces shape us? Give this book a rea
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C. Purtill
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Instead of getting on a plane for college, Berie goes to a commune in the forest with Bay, a charismatic man recruiting for Dice and his "family." Berie was never satisfied with her life, with her mother who wanted her to go to college, with her boyfriend Isaac, an artist with whom she had attempted small anti-establishment efforts.

But Dice and his group truly are anti-establishment. They live on the land, forage for food, scavenge Dumpsters from the "fake world" to bring back to their real wor
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Debi Hawkes
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught a landslide no escape from reality. Open your eyes, look up to the sky and see......anyway the wind blows.

Berie, a seeking/searching 19 year old, decides instead of getting on the plane heading to college, to join an off the grid community with a charismatic father figure.

She wants to live a "real" life close to nature, to be recognized and be loved. But as in the Queen Bohemian Rhapsody quote above, is this real or fantasy? And at what cost?
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Lisa Day
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
I'll admit I originally choose this book based on the cover, but the story inside was equally as beautiful! I did find myself struggling with the writing style in the first part of the book, but by the second half, I found I was lost in the mountains of North Carolina with Harmony and the rest of "the family" and couldn't wait to see how the story ended. Such an eye-opening and beautifully written book. If you find yourself struggling with getting into the book, don't give up, it's worth stickin ...more
Lisa Day
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'll admit I originally choose this book based on the cover, but the story inside was equally as beautiful! I did find myself struggling with the writing style in the first part of the book, but by the second half, I found I was lost in the mountains of North Carolina with Harmony and the rest of "the family" and couldn't wait to see how the story ended. Such an eye-opening and beautifully written book. If you find yourself struggling with getting into the book, don't give up, it's worth stickin ...more
James Beggarly
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful first novel where the young narrator takes you inside a commune that quickly shows itself to be a cult with strict rules and delusional world philosophies. She reveals her moment to moment thoughts, loves and fears so openly that it makes sense that she would stay with these people than to go out and face the real world. A really smart first book.
Anneke
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-read
Book Review: The Ash Family
Author: Molly Dektar
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Review Date: April 4, 2019

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the blurb:
“When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.”

This is an extraordinary debut novel from a wr
...more
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Molly Dektar is from North Carolina and lives in Brooklyn. She received her MFA from Brooklyn College, where she was awarded the Himan Brown Award and the Brooklyn College Scholarship for Fiction. The Ash Family is her first novel.
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