The Scent of Rain: Anne Montgomery
You will meet within the pages of this compelling, heart wrenching and topical novel a man that considers himself charismatic and who increasingly has become an object of worship sustained on a group of brainwashed people that have given over their will to think, decide and have a voice in their own lives and lose their own power. Coercive persuasion or thought reform indoctrinating these people with sermons, threats, promising them to go to the Celestial heaven when the time comes and taking away their worldly possessions in order to adhere to the will of one man they call their Leader or Prophet. They allow polygamy, sexual exploitation of children and the leader dares anyone to defy him. It’s like idol worship and each person within the group hopes for absolution from sins and guidance for a better life while this leader wallows in his own glory and power. Meet the people of Colorado City and learn what happens within the barricaded walls of this compound as you meet Rose Madsen a young sixteen year old teen who just wants to become a science teacher and whose mother, Bliss, is abusive both mentally and physically and is so brainwashed and destructive that living within her realm of life, Rose fears for her own. Rose’s mother wants her to get married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon( FLDS) community. When Rose rebels or offers her own thoughts her mother’s beatings are brutal, relentless and then locks her in closet so small she can barely move and denies her food. Although there is people that work for child services, no one has been able to prove anything or taken any action thus far. Her sister Daisy, is one of many mentally handicapped children and when the leader or Prophet returns from being in jail for four months his first decree is to have every child who has a pet kill it to show their devotion to him and to right any wrongs against God. Daisy is slow and fearful and when forced to strangle and kill her pet bird Rose takes action and from there on she becomes a runaway hoping to finally be free.
Taught at home and not in a public school the Prophet seems to be the only one that these people listen to and they adhere to his rules without question.
Adan Reyes is abused by his foster care father and finds himself having to run away. Heat stroke hits him and with no food or water he might die. Adan left his friends and a successful high school athletic career. Trek, a local handyman finds him and picks him up, takes him to the local doctor and restores his health even giving him a job helping him to earn some money.
As he is working one day something happens that cause Rose to run away and Adan decides to follow her through the mountains and they both bond closely as good friends. But, when the men of the FLDA community find them someone has a gun and it appears that Adan might have shot Rose but in reality he did not. Taken into custody, fighting for his life fortunately Scott Parker and Investigator along with Trek come to his rescue even though the Sherriff wants them out of his way.
Brooke Neal is trying to find out who Andy/Adan is and learns that he is a runaway but has no idea why and if he was a victim of abuse.
The Prophet is vengeful and wants Adan eliminated and has his Marshall the man in charge dealing with that and then wanting Rose’s parents to allow her to be his next wife. When they object to it and refuse to allow him to take her as his wife what he does is shocking and the fact that he feels women of low on any totem pole and are property is sickening. Rose has spirit and wanting to be this man’s wife frightens and makes her in pain more than her wound. Belle, the nurse for the compound tries to dissuade him but every effort is fought. When his other wives show up she demands that they leave for fear of infecting Rose in some way? Polygamy is allowed and these cults of harmful and although they consider them religious of ways of life I find that so many people who think they have no way out or no way to fend for themselves fall for this brainwashing is frightening.
Logan Madsen is directed into the Prophet’s office and is told he is being banished from the compound and his children and wives assigned other parents and husbands. Distraught and frightened for Daisy, Iris and Rose, he does something out of his comfort zone and enlists the help of Parker, Trek and Chase the doctor hoping to find a solution to save his family. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from my research still practice polygamy in the same Colorado City depicted in this novel near Hurricane the small town where the main plot takes place.
If Rose is finally free and clear of Bliss she might not be considered recalcitrant and rebellious and avoid having to be perfect, clean, tidy and uneducated. She just wants to be a science teacher but if not freed of the clutches of this cult she might wind up just another chattel of this man. Imagine if our laws confined young girls and women to dress alike and look like cut out dolls in a plain pastel color and a high neck that is totally unflattering. They even have to wear their hair the same way and Rose will not adhere to it just because Bliss and the Prophet deem it so. So, how does her father stand by and not stop Bliss from hitting her with a spoon? Fumarase Defiiciency is what Daisy has caused by bloodlines within their community. Marrying relatives caused the birth defects and the Barlows and Jessops created this ideal way of bringing children into a world where they would suffer. Why? Dr. Chase Allred risks it all to prevent these genetic problems from spreading even further and has a meeting with these people to explain it to them but the reaction was anything but positive. God wants them to live this way and have their children the same way. Ignorance or blind faith? Children born with these defects they claim if a punishment from God and they have to deal with it. Daisy seems to not comprehend anything or is it no one tries to help her communicate? Rose cares for her daily needs and realizes that at some points she does understand by proving to Rose that she likes to splash the water. The love for her parakeet is proven but Prophet Eldon Higbee wants all pets killed and anyone that dares defy him will pay dearly.
Trek and Adan bond. Trek was a medic in the army and is Chase’s best friend and together they hope to take care of Adan and find out why he ran away. But, if Marshal Sterling Buttars has his say he will end Adan’s life and is supposed to be the head of law within the compound only answering to the Prophet.
Bob Wayland was the science teacher at the Public School but was fired and is missing. Eldon Higbee decided that all children should be taught at home and closed the school. While Brooke tries to find out more about him and is dealing with something from her past she would rather not have revealed.
Paths cross and Rose’s life and future are at stake as the Prophet enters her room want demands that she understand she is his wife. Beth Flake is the nurse assigned to her but what Rose does to defend herself is priceless letting readers know she has spunk and will not allow this man to defile her but will she win the battle?
A powerful ending filled with suspense, hope, the will to survive and a father who has to decide whether to cross the line and trust the people from the outside or lose everything. When the Prophet decides that he is going to take Rose the end result will shock readers. Rose is tough and Adan is loyal to her but will they both wind up back where they started? Adan escaping a foster father that is cruel and Rose a mother that is filled with hate, anger and thinks her ways are right? This book reminds readers, educators, guidance counselors, social workers, and Child Protective Services counselors that children need our protection from this abuse or any abuse mentally, physically and in this case sexually too. As an educator I can’t tell you how many times I reported abuse and was right. This book is a great eye opener for anyone thinking of becoming a member of a cult and having their freedoms taken away. A must read. The cover of the book shows a young girl with raindrops coming down. After a rainstorm the rain-washes away the both physically and poetically the fears, trepidations and uncertainty and brings to everyone the beautiful SCENT OF RAIN! Will it wash away the fears, danger and bad things that both Rose, Brooke and Adan have lived with and will it bring as a new fresh day begins a new beginning?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine