The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams was published in 2009, and I won a copy at an educator's conference. I put off reading it as I am from a polygamist cult and reading stories about this topic depresses me.
I listened to the audio version and the narration was good. Yes, it depressed me because I know how hopeless a person can feel once they make the decision that they want to get out. Williams' inspiration for this story was my cousin's story. She ran from the uncle she'd been married to and was badly beaten by her father for leaving. The case was highly publicized. Williams set her story in a more closed society than that of the Kingston's.
Williams did her research, and I found the fictionalized story she wrote believable with the exception of Kyra's escape. Skip the rest of this paragraph because of spoilers. I found it hard to believe that the cult would murder an outsider because that would bring too many people to investigate. This is something the cult would avoid at all costs. In reality, they would have let her go and gotten her back using their lawyers since she was underage, but it made for good drama. These cults thrive on secrecy and keeping things in the cold hard dark.
No more spoilers. I liked that Williams showed how nearly impossible it is to get out of these cults, as the cults control everything - your housing, your job, your families. People who leave have not had to open bank accounts, get jobs on their own, and many haven't finished school.
This book is well written, and if you find yourself asking why more people don't leave these cults, this book will answer your questions. In getting out, you risk everything. I'm thankful my family didn't disown me. They kept truth from me and lied to me about what was happening inside the cult after I left, but they still loved me and had contact with me. But from the day I left, I was an outsider, and yes, that did hurt. I am lucky that most of my immediate family have left the Kingston cult in the years since I left. Now there are no secrets, no fear of eternal damnation if the wrong thing is said, no mind control, and a great sense of freedom.
Read today even if what you read is hard for you emotionally. This book was hard for me to read, but I'm glad I did. I'm thankful for the freedoms I enjoy.