Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When she woke, she was red. This is the opening lines from Hilary Jordan's new novel, When She Woke. In this updated version of The Scarlet Letter, those who sin against God and the state wear their shame openly so that all know. Criminals are chemically treated so that their skin shouts their crime, whether yellow, green or red, the most serious.

Hannah's crime? She fell in love with a married man, had an affair, got pregnant and had an abortion. Even worse, she refused to name the man or the name of the doctor who performed the operation. Her sentence? A month in detention, on 24 hour video for all to see, then sixteen years of living with red skin so that her crime was the first thing everyone saw when they saw her. Living as a criminal who could be easily discriminated against, unsafe from those who searched for victims who could not fight back.

Hannah tries desparately to forge a new life for herself. She finds enemies such as a vigilante group who takes punishment of Chromes as their life mission. Friends such as other Chromes and those committed to end this practice and to save those condemed by it. Can she find her way through this new life she is forced to live to ever find happiness again?

Hillary Jordan has created a believable world and a pace that draws the reader along, anxious to discover what will happen next to Hannah. This thought-provoking work will be one that the reader finds hard to forget but instead will think of long after finishing.


Cozy in Texas said...

I didn't realize that this story was from the Scarlet Letter. Interesting twist.

Kristen said...

I was completely riveted by this book when I read it even though it is totally not my normal sort of read.