The woman looked at me, anguish brimming in her eyes. I picked up the note she’d left and read the scrawl: HELP!!! Then: Mom. Followed by a number.
A gripping and heartbreaking read, based on the true story of the Jonestown cult, one of the darkest chapters in American history.
When journalist Zoe Quint loses her husband and child in a tragic accident, she returns home to Guyana to heal. But when she hears cries and music floating through the trees, her curiosity compels her to learn more about the Americans who have set up camp in a run-down village nearby. Their leader, Jim Jones, dark eyed and charismatic, claims to be a peaceful man who has promised his followers paradise.
But everything changes when Zoe meets one of his followers, a young woman called Lucy, in a ramshackle grocery store. Lucy grabs Zoe’s arm, raw terror in her eyes, and passes her a note with a phone number, begging her to call her mother in America.
Zoe is determined to help Lucy, but locals warn her to stay away from the camp, and as sirens and gunshots echo through the jungle at nightfall, she knows they are right. But she can’t shake the frightened woman’s face from her mind, and when she discovers that there are young children kept in the camp, she has to act fast.
Zoe’s only route to the lost people is to get close to their leader, Jim Jones. But if she is accepted, will she be able to persuade the frightened followers to risk their lives and embark on a perilous escape under the cover of darkness? And when Jim Jones hears of her plans, could she pay the highest price of all?
A powerful and unputdownable novel inspired by the true story of Jonestown, about a woman’s brave attempt to save people who were promised paradise but found only lies. Fans of Where the Crawdads Sing, Before We Were Yours and The Girls will be captivated by The Girl from Jonestown.
About the author
Sharon Maas was born into a prominent political family in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1951. She was educated in England, Guyana, and, later, Germany. After leaving school, she worked as a trainee reporter with the Guyana Graphic in Georgetown and later wrote feature articles for the Sunday Chronicle as a staff journalist.
Her first novel, Of Marriageable Age, is set in Guyana and India and was published by HarperCollins in 1999. In 2014 she moved to Bookouture, and now has ten novels under her belt. Her books span continents, cultures, and eras. From the sugar plantations of colonial British Guiana in South America, to the French battlefields of World War Two, to the present-day brothels of Mumbai and the rice-fields and villages of South India, Sharon never runs out of stories for the armchair traveller.
I can’t express how much I loved this novel! After reading and watching so much about the Jonestown cult, I had to read ‘The Girl from Jonestown.’ I loved the tale that the author wrapped around the facts and I soon found myself engrossed in the book and main character, Zoe’s, personal life.
I enjoyed being in Zoe’s head. She had a fabulous story to tell and her curiosity and ambition had me tense with worry for her. As for the setting – fabulous. I could hear and feel the jungle around me as I read. I felt the fear, Zoe’s repulsion at times and her burning desire to get to the bottom of the story. Lucy’s chapters had me gripped too. They had such a real feel to them which totally got under my skin.
If you are as fascinated with cults and like to delve into what drives people to become embroiled in them and remain in them, this book is a must read. Brilliant!
Thanks for reading!
Why not check out one of my other reviews? Maybe you’ll find your perfect read.
The Resort by Sue Watson – review. https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2022/06/24/your-dream-getaway-or-your-worst-nightmare/
Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.