Review – Seed by Lisa Heathfield
Seed loves you. Seed will never let you go.
Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. When some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realise that there is darkness at the heart of Seed. A darkness from which she must escape, before it’s too late.
A chilling and heartbreaking coming-of-age story of life within a cult, Seed will take readers on a journey of gripping self-discovery reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Publisher – Electric Monkey
Date Published – 16th April 2015
Pages – 352 pages
Format – Paperback
Category – UK YA
I was originally sent a review copy of this book by the wonderful author of the book Lisa Heathfield via Electric Monkey. I was also lucky enough to attend the Electric Monkey Blogger Day in February and was given another proof copy which I gave away to another blogger who I knew would love the book! This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review. Thank you all for sending / giving this to me to read!
I have also been extremely lucky and received a finished copy of this book from Lisa as a thank you for arranging a surprise for her recently where I managed to get a finished copy of her book (with thanks to Electric Monkey) to one of her favourite authors, Jennifer Niven and get a picture of Jennifer with the book. I also bought Lisa a copy of Jennifer’s book and got it signed for her…so as a very unexpected thank you surprise Lisa sent me a finished copy…..and its SO pretty and beautiful with a stunning dedication!! Thank you Lisa!
** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**
It’s taken me a little longer than normal to write this review! The reason? I fell in love with this book from the minute I started reading it right through to the heart stopping end! This meant that my review may have just contained the words READ THIS BOOK NOW or I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH (which is what I have been telling everyone on twitter) rather than a review so I have taken some time to compose some hopefully thoughtful constructive words that hopefully may do this wonderful book the tiny bit of justice it fully deserves!
*Gulps and takes big breath*
But first lets admire the beauty and prettiness of this book cover! Its so pretty! *claps excitedly and bows down to @hungrymarv for designing this cover*
Now we may begin….
Seed is a story about a girl called Pearl who was born into and has only ever known the community of Seed. Seed worship nature, are a family and look after each other. They are a community. They live in the Seed world looked after by mother nature. They do not know the outside world. Seed have a hierarchy of Kindred’s who Pearl and the others look up to. They idolise the leader of Seed, Papa S.
Seed is the story of life lived in a cult.
When Pearl comes of age will it now be her turn to become the companion of Papa S something she has longed for a long time? But when Ellis, his mom and his younger sister Sophie arrive from the outside world to join Seed Pearl begins to realise that all may not be a safe haven at Seed and everything she has grown up to believe in may all come crashing down. But Pearl struggles to believe that Seed is something other than what she loves. Papa S and the kindred’s love her and will protect her right? Seed is her home. Seed loves her. Seed will never let her go!
This book is hauntingly beautiful and deals with such sensitive and often rather unnerving subjects and situations.
The book is told from Pearl’s perspective and begins with Pearl coming of age. A scary time for Pearl as she has no idea what is happening to her and her body. She believes this is mother nature punishing her and is immediately put through a ritual of being shut in a dark hole for the night as Seed believes, as well as Pearl, that this will make her a woman and she will be able to bear children. This immediately gives you the setting and feel for the book and the character of Pearl as I felt as a reader I was completely drawn into the book and immediately quite protective over Pearl and fully drawn into the community of Seed.
Pearl is an adorable, innocent character who I wanted to protect and whilst she comes across as slightly naïve at times as a reader you have to remember that this is what she has been born into. She does not know who her mother is as the women at Seed only birth the children and cannot take that child to be solely theirs. She knows nothing else, yearns to know who her real mother is but at the same time refuses to believe anything else exists outside of Seed. Pearl sees the good in everyone even when times get tough. Pearl believes you should listen only to mother nature…she will save you. She looks after the younger children and I found it adorable that coming of age to Pearl meant she could grow her hair long and wear unpattern skirts (all patterns are false unless created by nature) a sure sign that she is a woman to Papa S *shivers* More on Papa S later!
Pearl is friends with and has grown up within Seed with curious Kate, who as she has come of age starts to have questions about the community she has been brought up, and growing up quickly to be a man Jack. What I loved about Kate was that she senses something is not right and is not happy in the community of Seed anymore and feels like there must be more. With this comes a slight sense of rebellion, but then this is reigned in and controlled by the Kindred’s and as Kate and Pearl experience there are severe punishments afoot for anyone questioning the community and having unclean thoughts against mother nature. There is a heart stopping scene when Pearl is put in the forgiveness room for such thoughts which made me fearful and turn the pages faster, but shows the controlling ways of certain aspects of Seed!
One of the Kindred’s, Kindred John, invites a family into the community of Seed to “help” them through a tough time in their lives. With this family piano player Ellis arrives and immediately strikes up a friendship with Pearl, Kate and Jack. I loved Ellis as a character! Just loved him! I loved the way he goes along with things for his Mom’s sake, his protectiveness of his little sister Sophie and his realisation about what is going on in Seed is a revelation. He’s experienced the world outside of Seed and he knows right from wrong where at Pearl, Kate and Jack only know the community they have grown up in and as far as they are concerned this is the correct way to live and be happy. Ellis throws everything up in the air asking the question how do you know what you need if you have never seen it?
Once particular scene I loved with the four friends is when they get caught in the rain, take off their clothes and dance in a circle. This scene is beautifully written and shows the innocence of these children and the simplicity of wanting to just be children and laugh and play. It shows how strong their friendship is in a single scene. They are unbreakable. I also love the way Pearl falls in love with Ellis’s music when he plays the piano…it’s like nothing she has ever heard before and provides one of my favourite quotes from the book.
“It feels like I am underwater at the lake, yet floating through the sky. There a thousand butterflies dancing on my skin”
For me Lisa Heathfield has created one of the most hated controlling characters I think I have ever read! In every part of the book that Papa S, the leader of Seed, is present in it creeped me out. His presence is so masterful and so superior that I feared every page when he appeared where as Pearl looks up to him and idolises him, but at the same times fears him knowing about anything she shouldn’t be doing or any unclean thoughts about Seed. As the story plays out it is evident what Papa S intentions are, but whilst this is done quite evidently with Papa S picking a new companion when he chooses, who then has to walk by his side with a flower carefully placed between their lips to indicate the companionship, anything further implied is done off the page but as a reader you get enough sense of what is going on to work out he is a horrid man! This is obviously exactly what Lisa Heathfield set out to achieve and shows how clever her writing really is as I felt so protective over Pearl and the other children that I hated him and his manipulative ways with a passion and rightly so. What Lisa creates with Papa S, without it being played out onto the page but more behind the scenes so to speak, is a villain who as a reader you will despise and if you are anything like me shout at the book a million times for Pearl and the others to not want to be his companion and to escape Seed forever!
I don’t want to go into any more for fear of spoiling this precious gem of a book. For me I was unable to put this book down. This was again due to the writing, the way I felt about the characters and the perfect pacing. I think I even cried when I had to go to the shops as this book was glued to my hands. Seed captured me and my imagination completely. Seed did not want to let me go. I had to make sure Pearl was okay! Surely the sign of a fab book! And the end …..OMG!
Lisa Heathfield’s writing is stunning and beautiful in such a tender way. Every sentence is enriched with so much care and imaginative description that you fall in love with it. This is Lisa’s debut! A debut! I cannot believe this is a debut book. It’s inspiring. I love Lisa’s writing style and this book so much that I am so excited about what is to come next from this wonderful debut author! I for one cannot wait!
I want to finish this review with a quote from the book that for me highlights the beautiful writing style of Lisa Heathfield, the innocence of Pearl and the controlling ways of Papa S and the hold Seed has on Pearl….just beautiful and I feel this sums up the book really well…
“I always have the same feeling when we drive from Seed to market. It’s as though a thin blue thread attaches me to my home. It winds through the lanes, past the hills and houses, a thread that will never break and will always keep me safe. If I am lost I can always follow it back again, to Papa S. And attached to it, he will always be able to find me.”
I urge everyone to read this book and experience it’s beauty…my words do not do this book justice…go and experience Seed for yourselves…it will stay with you long after reading….it will never let you go!
I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday books!
You can buy the brilliant Seed – Here
Want to know more about what we learnt about the book at the Electric Monkey Blogger Day – click here
Find out more about Lisa’s inspiration for Seed here
Or check out the fab Q&A with Lisa Heathfield here
You can also find more reviews for Seed over at LoveReading4Kids here
For a cover reveal of Lisa’s second novel Paper Butterflies see here
Have you read Seed? What did you think? Has this review convinced you to pick up a copy and read? What do you think of the beautiful cover? I would love to hear from you! Why not leave a comment by clicking the reply button at the top of this page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !