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Home by Eleni McKnight!
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Happy Release Week, Eleni!
Published: WordCrafts Press, LLC.
Publication Date: Nov 22, 2016
Publication Date: Nov 22, 2016
Available for Purchase:AMAZON
Knowledge is a dangerous commodity in the Home commune, the last beacon of civilization against the fallen outside world. As Suzannah Commons begins to secretly read forbidden books, she jeopardizes her future for the forbidden love of the boy who supplies her new, dangerous habit, Silas Maars, and his family. Will her new-found knowledge be her destruction?Suzannah is in training with the rest of the unmarried teenage girls in the Handmaiden House and Home’s laundry to become a bride when she accidentally comes upon a naked boy in one of the family quarters, Silas Maars. To see a naked man before marriage is an unforgivable sin in Home and a challenge to her precious status as a virgin, her only aspect of worth. This compromise to her purity would earn her an automatic exile in the Hard Labor Camp, a death sentence until the commune leader, Parson, sentences her to the punishment of serving Silas and his unusual family as a housekeeper. As she works for the Maars family and is isolated from the rest of the commune’s population, she discovers the frightening, threatening outside world is not as dangerous as she has been led to believe. The Maars family reveals to her that Deacon controls the population of Home by keeping them all ignorant, denying them education and books so he can teach his own twisted, corrupt, self-serving version of religion from the pulpit. As she learns the truth and begins to fall into a star-crossed love with Silas, her fate as a childbride to one of the lecherous Elders or a worker in the hard labor camp is drawing nigh.
World-building for Home
I’ve feared the political ideology of patriarchy for a while, now. I prefer equality between the sexes, or as it’s better known, feminism, and I’ve thought about how the world would look if all the real-life horrors that life is like without feminism. Feminism campaigns against, like excessively strict dress codes for women and the idea that women are not worthy of equal jobs in the workplace because their main focus should be homemaking and starting families, and I started from that. I always said I’d never write a dystopian novel, but things transpired in 2012 that lead me to it.
The women in this world do not have choices. Their choices are made for them by men and they are considered “children” and “lesser than men”, even as adults in an attempt to keep some semblance of control. I myself have experienced this kind of abuse and mistreatment, people trying to control me. It was difficult to break out of, but I’ve done it. Only I can decide what’s best for me, not somebody else. When you give the control over to someone else to make you happy, they’ll always do it wrong. And it can get abusive and dangerous at times, too.
I’ve been attacked repeatedly with “if women would just act like ladies, then men would be gentlemen again” as if that was a defense against why rape happens due to women requesting equality with men. I’ve also gotten excuses that if women didn’t dress a certain way, have a certain reputation, ambitions, or come from certain backgrounds, they wouldn’t get raped. This is victim-blaming, and it’s not something I have a lot of sympathy or tolerance for. This list of reasons why women are raped are never-ending. There is no particular way to dress that would keep a rapist from raping. Even virgins are victims are rape and sexual assault. We’ve had men raped by women, and their rapes are considered a joke and are thought to be hilarious, like in 40 Days and 40 Nights (where Josh Hartnett’s character wakes up to his ex-girlfriend having sex with him without consent), a moment that’s chilling for many rape victims of different genders. When people take private nude pictures/sex tapes and they get leaked by a malicious individual, it’s the person in the nude photo’s fault and their problem, not the fault of the person who shared it. And it’s these things that promote rape culture, the ultimate victim-blaming society.
I sat up and spotted something else. More stars hanging over a large, long desk. Is this more medicine? Did they leave a second package? I pulled the fabric out and beneath it was a light-colored box. It was more medicine. I was sure of it. Feeling proud to have discovered this second package, I decided to open it.
My eyes flew open wide. Instead of medicine there were more of those beautiful heart-shaped cookies. I picked one up. It felt soft and fresh. I broke it apart and popped a piece into my mouth. I literally melted in my mouth, the sweet taste making me feel like I was floating. I moaned softly.
“Suzannah? Where are you?”
“Here,” I answered.
Silas appeared in the empty doorway. “Did you find something?”
“Yes,” I said, holding out the box for him to see.
“And you’re planning on keeping them all for yourself?” Silas asked. I saw him grin in the moonlight.
“Maybe,” I grinned back. “I just ate one.”
“I won’t tell if you won’t,” Silas said, “But you have to give me one.”
“Here,” I reached the box toward him, but he didn’t take it.
“Put it in my mouth for me,” he said. “My hands are dirty.”
“And mine aren’t?”
He opened his mouth and I realized he was serious. This was not like when Morris commanded me to feed him. This was something…different. This was…exciting. I broke off a piece of the pastry, and held it out to him, placing it on his tongue. His lips closed around my fingers. I jumped back and pulled my hand away. It felt like lightning had shot through my fingers, up my arm and straight down into my abdomen, setting my nerves on fire. I tingled from head to toe.
“Silas!” I giggled. “You can’t do that.”
But why can’t he do that? I liked it. I liked the feeling of his lips on my skin. Was this what a kiss felt like? Kissing was forbidden except for married people. I imagined Silas kissing me and a fire exploded in the base of my stomach, an unfamiliar and exciting feeling that made my heart race. I realized I wanted him to kiss me; to kiss me full on the mouth.
Eleni McKnight is a Murfreesboro, Tennessee native and graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a degree in Theatre with an emphasis in Literature. This left her with a wild passion for creating costumes and doing make-up in her freetime, along with her intense passion for reading from her childhood. She started writing at age eight when she had read all the Baby-Sitter's Club books she had brought along for a road trip at age nine, and wanted something new to read. It's never quite left her over the years.These days, you can usually find her working backstage or costuming in local community theatres, reading a book, walking/exercising, at a concert, drinking a craft beer with friends, knitting, embroidering, or taking a dance class.
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