A young woman assumes power over a religious secret society in this fantasy.
Four-year-old Ruth Ann Leigh is a “level 8 Love Prime” and the granddaughter and heir of Lucas Tower, the Presiding Prime in Tower Township, New Jersey, and on AO Island, “a sovereign country near Japan and China.” Lucas arranges a marriage between Ruth Ann and 5-year-old Brandon Kincaid, the owner of MANNA Cereals and nephew of family doctor Tom Kincaid. Ruth Ann can talk to snakes, break the bones of her enemies, and create museumworthy crayon drawings, but she can’t remember her past; she “lost her memories temporarily when Tom medicated her for her first embryo transplant.” She’s later separated from Lucas and grows up in Mississippi, where Campbell (co-author: Alla’s Offspring, 2016, etc.) makes an appearance in the story as a character; at this point, the story veers between first-person stream-of-consciousness and third-person-omniscient points of view; it also moves forward and backward in time. Ruth Ann meets and falls in love with Brandon again in her preteen years, bears more implanted children, and lives out a religious destiny (called “Project Ruth”) that’s supported by the White House. It also involves Tom, who also becomes Ruth Ann’s husband. Overall, author Campbell appears to be earnest in her stated desire to write “virtuous, thought-provoking pieces where the reader can experience the wisdom from within themselves.” However, this goal gets obscured in the narrator’s digressions about “GOD” (all caps) and self-actualization and in text that’s riddled with misspellings, missing prepositions, and punctuation errors. Also, readers will likely find the prospect of children marrying so young to be repugnant, even without Ruth Ann’s forced pregnancies and such statements as, “Ever since the moment [Tom] saw her toddler diapered backside and bare thighs…he was entirely besotted.”
A muddled novel with a hard-to-follow plot.