Growing up, it is hard to fit in. Your mind is harder on yourself than it really should be, but what if you don’t have the trappings most teens have? What if, in fact, you aren’t in school? What if almost all you know is what you have learned from limited schooling, approved by Father Ezekiel, prophet of the Righteous Path? What if you are told anything that interests you is sinful and will lead you to Hell without the sanction of the Righteous path? Elizabeth Fixmer tackles this concept in the riveting Down from the Mountain.
Eva and her mother went to Righteous Path after her Dad left (and a bitter divorce). Eva’s mother is now Mother Martha. Eva remembers a time when she was known as Lily and did not have to share her father, her REAL father, with anyone. It was a time before her Father left for a research trip to China. But, stifling these memories, seems to grant her more favor with Father Ezekiel—giving her additional responsibilities (and the freedom to go to town under supervision), including making jewelry and buying the supplies necessary for these items—as the livelihood of Righteous Path depends on the proceeds. However, when rumors of a reporter in the area make it to their compound, Ezekiel begins militarizing the group—and enters into a bond of eventual marriage to Eva.
I loved that a librarian and a waiter/student help Eva. The author really captured the freedom that access to education (and especially a library) can provide. I loved that Eva was so interested in the Chronicles of Narnia, and the fact that Father Ezekiel is so against them, speaks volumes of the way he is controlling the sect. He exhibits classic cult-like behavior, especially against that favorite Christian allegory.
A special thanks to publisher, Albert Whitman & Company, for allowing me the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest review—I was thrilled to read this and look forward to more from this publisher. Be sure to check this book out at your favorite book source when it comes out on March 1, 2015. I really liked that I was able to find out more about the author and her research on Elizabeth Fixmer’s official site.