The more I learn about writing and publishing, the more I’m discovering off-the-beaten-path books that I might not have otherwise found. Many of them deserve a wider audience, so this is the first in what will be an ongoing, irregular series of posts: Books You Probably Haven’t Read—But Should.
The book that inspired me to start this series is King Solomon’s Wives by Holly McDowell. Full disclosure: I know Holly in real life (we’re in the same critique group), but I wouldn’t recommend this publicly if I hadn’t loved reading it.
King Solomon’s Wives is a serial fantasy novel that McDowell is releasing in e-book format, one chapter at a time, although each “chapter” is really more like a novella—100 pages or so. (The first two chapters, Hunted and Addicted, are both available now in Amazon.)
The Wives are modern-day women who are descendants of King Solomon’s many wives. Their touch is literally addictive—people they come in contact with pursue them relentlessly to avoid withdrawal. Meanwhile, they are pursued by the descendants of an ancient clan of Hunters whose sole purpose is to kill off the Wives.
Because of this, the Wives live in isolation, with strict rules and hierarchies supposedly designed to keep them safe. The story follows some of the individual Wives: Sumarra, who rebels against the system yet seeks to protect the younger Wives; Sonya, who escaped from her clan when she fell in love with a handsome musician; clan leader Dilara, who struggles to maintain order and safety within her group; sweet, naïve Mina; and others. Flashbacks to the time of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba serve to explain how the Wives came to be.
The stories are skillfully interwoven, so seemingly minor characters in one Wife’s story become major characters in other plotlines. (I just love it when authors do that well.) At the end of each chapter, you have the option to give the author feedback about who and what you’d like to see in future chapters.
Also, be warned: Because it’s a serial, each chapter ends on a cliffhanger, and the second is even more suspenseful than the first.
I read the first part of Addicted in our critique group, and I immediately ordered Hunted so I’d be ready when the completed version of Addicted was published. It was released in late February, and I whipped through it in just a few days. I know Holly is working on the next chapter and I can’t wait to read it.