The Girl from Jonestown by Sharon Maas

Published: June 23, 2022


Pages: 416

Genre: Historical Fiction

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

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.

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?

“My pen was the sword with which I’d conquer evil.”

Zoe has come home after traveling in an attempt to outrun her grief. And home is everything she longed for until she hears about the strange Americans who have set up a compound near her home. The recordings that play at all hours, running in time with the jaguars and mosquitos. The investigative journalist inside Zoe is interested, despite everyone telling her to stay away. That only fuels her curiosity. When Jonestown is your neighbor, how can you not want to know what’s happening?

I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the mix of historical facts with fiction, and found the story engaging and exciting.

I loved the complexity of the characters, and the emotional turmoil that surrounded the plot. I think the plot of this book was well done.

Taking a well known tragedy and making it the center of a fictional story was brilliant, and I enjoyed the story as it was unfolded.

The manic was captured beautifully, and the fear was well represented. Sharon Maas took the tragedy of Jonestown and added her own fictional spin to it, and it worked.

This was such a powerful novel, filled with fear, corruption, power, and hope. I found Maas taking facts, like Jim Jones being shot in the head, and working that into her story and giving characters that power well done.

This was a well researched, beautifully written book. The balance between fact and Fiction were choreographed and executed to well. This book mixed true crime and a dynamic plot to bring a beautifully devastating novel to life.

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