Sunday, September 9, 2012

Section 132 by Helga Zeiner - Review, Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway!

Happy Sunday!



Welcome to my stop at Section 132 Virtual Book Tour! This tour is organized by Partners in Crime Tours and by the author Helga Zeiner. My stop includes review, guest post by the author, excerpt and giveaway.

Let's start with the review of Section 132.




TITLE: Section 132
AUTHOR: Helga Zeiner
PUBLISHED BY: POW WOW Books
PUBLICATION DATE: July 1, 2011
GENRE: Suspense
NUMBER OF PAGES: 458


Summary:



Lillian is only 13 when her parents marry her to a middle-aged Bishop of a fundamentalist sect who practices polygamy. She is forced to live with her new husband’s many wives and children on his compound tucked away in the Canadian wilderness.

The hardships of poverty and isolation have crushed the will of just about everybody in his flock. They suffer in silent submissiveness, trying to please their despotic leader. He justifies the humiliating treatment of his dependents by citing ‘Section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants’ of his fundamentalist religion.

Until, one day, Lillian had enough. But it is dangerous to try and escape the Bishop’s iron rule. He practices blood-atonement, which is quietly sanctioned by the ‘Gatekeepers’, an American secret society within the Fundamentalist Mormon Church.

Lillian must find out-side help if she ever wants to leave the Bishop’s compound – but how can she do this if she is locked up without any means of communication?

Lillian doesn’t know how life outside a compound functions. She only knows that she can not live like this much longer. Many questions plaque her troubled mind.

Why do her sister-wives put up with this hardship, knowing only a bleak future lies ahead of them? Where do the child-brides come from, the Bishop keeps adding to his family? Where do some of his daughters disappear to, once they come of age? Lillian’s defiance grows with every injustice she witnesses – until she can’t hide her rebellion any longer.

Her desperate struggle to escape draws the reader into a very dark, very dangerous place. But not all is hopeless. When land developer Richard Bergman buys the neighboring property, Lillian’s luck seems to be changing …  

My review:  

Helga Zeiner's book Section 132 took me by surprise. Even though I have read the summary of the book and few reviews prior reading, I was still awed. Section 132 is book which horrified me in a good way. It was captivating and seemed so real that I had difficulties with separating the reality and the fiction. Section 132 is based on facts and the author did an excellent job to add the fiction to the reality. The plot was interesting and the characters fascinating. Section 132 is definitely a page turner!  

Plot: 

Meet Lilian who is raised in American Fundamentalist Mormon sect. When she turns 13, she has reached the age of being a women and her parents marry her off to Bishop who practices polygamy. Even Lilian has been familiar with fundamentalist Mormon ways, she is still terrified by what she sees around her in the sect, especially the submissiveness of the wives and the justification of abuse and violence.  

Lilian is scared, but not scared enough to start asking questions from herself and as the times goes, the defiance against Bishop and his way of living grows. Lilian is well aware of what the consequences of her defiance can be, but when the land developer Richard Bergman buys a neighbouring piece of land. Lilian sees a hope. 

I was truly captivated by Lilian's story. I liked that the author did not preach about what is right and what is wrong, but raised the awareness and gave the reader the option to decide. I have to admit, that I have never understood religion used for taking away your freedom and especially freedom of choice. I understand that Lilian was born to the sect, but no religion justifies abuse and violence.  

I also enjoyed Richard's and Daisy's story line which was wonderfully woven into Lilian's.  

Religion is always a topic raising heated discussions and emotions and I admired the author's skill to not doing so in writing. The reader does it for the author. Author gives you a story and you just have to deal with it.   For me Section 132 was definitely thought awakening and emotional reading. There were times when I thought - this can't be happening. Not because it was surreal, but because thinking of the modern information society it's very disturbing that that these kind of sects still exist.  

Characters:    

There was no single characters in the book who wasn't need, they were all necessary parts of the puzzle and felt into their right place during the story. Helga Zeiner has a very strong eye into the details and it also showed when talking about the characters. They were so real. I was thinking that all the characters in the book left an impression and it does not matter if you like them or not, they were characters whom you will remember due to their importance in the story long after finishing the book.  

Generally:  

Section 132 by Helga Zeiner is a thought awakening book. It captivates you and before you know you are drawn into the world of fundamentalist sect and even though you might not like what you read, the author keeps you spellbound until the very last page of the book and keeps you thinking about it. It does not leave you indifferent.  
5 Flowers!
 5 stars.  

Thanks goes to Partners In Crime Tours and the author Helga Zeiner for providing me with the review copy.  

About the author:  

Helga Zeiner is a Canadian and German citizen

At the age of 18, Helga completed her arts degree at the Art School of Bavaria, and then left Germany.

She lived and worked for two years in Australia, and twelve years in Hong Kong.

Since 2004 she has lived with her husband Manfred in the wilderness of British Columbia, about 5 hours north of Vancouver. There they own over 500 acres which they have developed into a gated cabin community, the Rainbow Country Estate.

For as long as she can remember, Helga has been writing novels, usually in her spare time. Today most of her time is devoted to writing, but she also manages the land development company, is politically active, enjoys outdoor sports and loves smoking cigars.


AUTHOR SITES: Website, Facebook, Twitter
PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon link B&N link

Ladies and gentlemen, Helga Zeiner has written a guest post for Me and Reading, so please give a warm welcome to Helga Zeiner!


Guest Post
by Helga Zeiner
author of Section 132

Section 132 is the title of my latest novel. It refers to the part of the fundamentalist Mormon Doctrine & Covenants which covers the "Principle of plural marriage".

Behind this flowery description hides a life-style that is forced upon millions of women and children all over the world: polygamy.

Unfortunately polygamy is currently enjoying a distorted presentation by our western media – one might even call it a ‘celebration’ – which I find not only repulsive but outright dangerous.

Reality TV shows like "Sister-wives" and series like "Big Love" are hugely successful. They prove that the topic intrigues many. In both programs, the sister-wives happily bond with each other, don’t mind sharing their one-and-only husband, have a say in running the family-business, can make independent decisions and so on and so on. The whole polygamous set-up is portrayed as desirable.

I worry about young girls, living in small families, missing the companionship of siblings or the inter-action with caring adults – as it so often happens in our modern society. Those girls are susceptible to the idea of bonding with a group of happy/giggling/care-free peers, sharing the joys of giving birth and the responsibilities of child-rearing. They can’t imagine the jealous bickering of sister-wives fighting for the attention of their ‘husband’, or the added burden of making ends meet because there are too few wages to cover the huge living expenses of a large family. All this is not shown as long as the cameras are rolling.

No, watching the ‘pure joy of living polygamy’ on TV lures them into the sickening concept promoted by religious fanatics and pedophiles. Did you know, there is even a website called ‘Looking for sister-wives’!

I can not understand why Hollywood & Co chose to assist a dangerous sect like the FLDS in twisting the disgusting truth. Current trials in America and Canada brought shocking detail of this secret society to light. There is proof of child-bride trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors, slavery … even water torture used on babies!

It may be time to correct the sugar coated image our televisions producers want us to believe and show the other, the truly horrific, side of this fundamentalist cult.

In my novel Section 132 I have opened the secret door.

I make no secret out of the fact that the fictional Mountain Glory compound where Bishop Jake controls his flock in utter isolation is a mirror image of the infamous Canadian FLDS sect Bountiful.

All references made to the Fundamentalist Mormon Church, the Doctrine & Covenants and its Section 132, the raid of the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas, the child-bride trafficking, the Lost Boys and much more are researched facts.

By creating a fictional novel with a fast-paced plot and passionate protagonists, with twists and turns and surprising elements, I chose the literary path of ‘enlighten through entertainment’.

Section 132 is fiction – based on facts!

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Thank you so much, Helga, for coming by with the guest post. It is highly appreciated!

Helga's German novel, Das Geheimnis von Lake Louise is Number 1 on Germany's Amazon.de in the Romantic/Suspense category

And, last, but not least, the giveaway!


There will be 1 winner of Section 132 e-book by Helga Zeiner.

In order to win, please write a comment about what you think of polygamy in the comment section. Please add also your name and email address, so I can contact the winner!

Giveaway runs from 9 - 15 September and it is open internationally.

Good luck!


Excerpt:


Martha knew the Bishop was coming for her. His boots stomped toward the office, and when he unlocked the door, she moved back to the opposite wall, trying to melt into it. The room was only about ten feet deep, and he was threateningly close as soon as he had entered. She saw the gun strap slung over his shoulder. Marion was beside him, her face still wet from crying, but already setting into a mask of acceptance and denial. Empty eyes buried in a stone hard expression. With only minimal movement of her body, she looked like a motionless statue, placed there only as an accessory to her husband, an extension of his wrath, coming alive only to cater to his demands. For the moment, he needed nothing of her except to observe him in all his glory as the executor of the faith.


Martha was not scared of him, but she was terrified of the unknown. What cruelty had he planned for her? Would she have to suffer long? It would be easier to bear if she knew what to expect.

She didn’t have to wait long.

“Get out of here, you worthless piece of shit!” he snapped at her. He slipped the gun strap off his shoulder and casually swung the hunting rifle in front of his massive torso like a trophy. “Here, see this! Fear this! It is the Lord’s instrument of vengeance. He has appointed me to be his executioner. Commanded me to exterminate filthy vermin like you. Get out, you slut, so I can punish you for your sins!” He came closer, lowered the weapon and prodded her thigh with the tip of the rifle. Martha jumped sideways and was forced to move forward and slide past him to the door.

He directed her with his weapon. “Bitch! Out with you! Outside! We don’t want a mess in here. Out you go, you miserable creature! I’ll show you who your master is. Move it, bitch, don’t drag your feet.”

Martha moved a little faster. She was numb, didn’t even feel herself walking past Marion who remained grotesquely frozen in her stance.

The Bishop kept pushing her forward, down the hallway, to the back entrance of the house. “Go, go, go. Let’s have a little target practise. You’d better move a bit faster, or it won’t be fun at all. Outside you go.”

He pushed her through the back door and out into the yard. “When I count to three, you run. If you make it over there, I’ll let you live. The Lord will decide.”

The distance from the house to the trees was much larger than she remembered. But it didn’t matter; he would get her anyway. Best to go slow, otherwise he might miss and only injure her.

“One!”

Martha took a deep breath. He slammed his rifle painfully into her back. She nearly lost her balance.

“Two!”

She forgot her resolution to be an easy target and instinctively started to run.

“Threeeee….”

She ran as fast as she could, trying to get away from his horrible ‘eeeee’. She practically flew over the ground, driven by her survival instinct, until she stumbled, lost her balance and fell face down on the ground. A sharp slash whipped viciously through her whole body, ripping her insides apart. She was surprised to hear herself groaning, although the excruciating pain of a moment ago subsided into shocked numbness. He had not finished her! Mixed into her total confusion of being shot at, lying on the ground and not feeling any pain, was the realization that something did not fit into the whole scenario. Something did not make sense. She had heard him counting and his final endless, blood curling “eeeeeeeee” still rang in her ears. She was on her knees now, slumped forward to steady herself with her hands, and turning sideways to look behind her.

He was also on the ground, holding his side with one hand, the rifle lying next to him. His “eeeeee” had evaporated into a whimper. At the same instant Martha saw the shape of a woman running away from him. Nothing but billowing skirts in a hasty retreat, impetuously heading for the protection of the trees. Anna! Already she had reached the trees. A safe haven for the fleeing Anna; as it would be for her, if she could reach it before he recovered from the injury Anna had inflicted on him. He was already shaking his head like a wounded bear, groaning in an effort to get the nasty foreign object that incapacitated him out of his flank. Martha did not see what had injured him so badly that the air had been knocked out of his lungs, but it must have weakened him considerably. He was wheezing, coughing and gurgling in his angry attempts to regain his stability and was slowly steadying himself.

If only she had not been hurt – if only she could reach the cover of the forest before he recovered from the surprise attack. She forced herself to try and scramble to her feet, surprised that she was still in one piece and not cut into two like she had thought. Where did it hurt? Even more surprised, she realized that she was not hurting at all. Her brain finally solved the mystery that had puzzled her before. No shot had been fired! On his last count she had only heard his scream but no shot - no bullet had been flying in her direction. She had stumbled and fallen, that was all. The pain had been imaginary.

By now her legs were firmly on the ground, holding her weight, and she started to run. She looked back once and increased her efforts to reach the tree line when she saw that he was already on his knees, groping blindly for his weapon. She literally flew across the yard, her skirt bunched up high, with her feet barely touching the ground. The forest. The trees. There they were. She ran past the first few trees, getting deeper into the woods before she pressed herself behind one wide trunk, panting heavily. She dared to look back. He was nowhere to be seen. He had moved. Where to? She knew her panting was too loud, but she could not stop it, her lungs were screaming for oxygen.

It was mercifully dark in the forest, but he only needed to follow the wheezing sounds she made to find her. Anger welled up inside her. She wanted to live! Why hadn’t Anna finished him! She must have been too weak. If only she had a weapon. The frustration of being so helpless made her even more angry. I will fight him, she thought. This time, I will scratch his eyes out before he can hurt me again. Martha slid down the tree trunk until she cowered on the wet cold ground, making herself as small a target as possible. She concentrated on the sounds of the night. He was injured and furious, he would not approach like a seasoned hunter but would storm through the darkness in search of her. When she heard him coming, she could hide or run away from him. She wasn’t quite sure what she would do, but this time she would not make it easy for him.




DISCLAIMER

Every eBook received for review on the tours for Partners In Crime are given in exchange for an honest review. The eBooks are sole property (copyrighted) of the author and should not be sold, distributed to, or exchanged among other people not part of the tours, nor should they be listed on file sharing sites. Failure to comply with this disclaimer, will result in removal from all future tours.

Happy reading!

7 comments:

  1. Exceptional review and post. Thank you so much. I agree with you. I had a hard time putting it down and, at times, forgot that it was a fictional read. The research was amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is wonderful for an author to see such an in-depth review - specially if it is such a glowing one.
    Thank you, dear reviewer, for giving it so much attention. What would we authors do without people like you who help spread the word about our work.
    Helga Zeiner

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Helga,
      Thanks for coming by and commenting and for your kind words!

      Delete
  3. Helga - I am absolutely blown away by the depth of realism you've researched to give your amazing new book!! You know, my sister lives near Salt Lake City, and we've had many a deep conversation regarding polygamy and it's social impact upon a community. Furthermore, while not something that immediately springs to mind when the topic of polygamy arises, the *financial* impact is mind boggling ... as my sister remarked, imagine how many purchases, how much spending is a by product of this lifestyle (and we're not even talking about basic resources). Anyway, she told me it's not unusual to see the families so large, that multiple vehicles are necessary simply to transport the entire group - be it to the grocery store, mall, church, McDonalds, etc.

    It's such an alien concept to me, but a fascinating one. I'd be extremely interested to have the pleasure of reading your well-thought out book, and thank both you & Inga for the sweet opportunity <3

    GFC: Mary DeBorde (M.A.D)
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot ocm

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, this is insane! I'm not an expert on polygamy but everything I read seemed very real. As in everything, there is good and bad in polygamous families.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ugh, always forget to leave my info.
      Lauren Mackesy
      Lmackesy @ gmail.com

      Delete

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