The Offering

I thought it began the day Father came home without work. Then I thought perhaps it really began the day we arrived at the farm, rumbled up the track, opened the gate and stood looking around as if we had found ourselves in some enchanted land.

Something happened on Madeline’s fourteenth birthday, something so traumatic that it triggered her mental breakdown. Many years later, she still can’t – or perhaps won’t – recall the events of that night.

A charismatic new psychiatrist, Dr Lucas, believes he can unlock Madeline’s memory by taking her step by step through the preceding year, when her father moved the family to an island he was certain God had guided them to.

Money was short, her mother often unwell and her father a volatile presence. Yet Madeline loved their rural idyll, sensing God in every blade of grass; and when things started to go wrong, she thought she knew how to put them right. But as Dr Lucas unearths the past, it becomes apparent that she was seriously misguided – and that he is treading on very dangerous ground.

Lyrically evoking the rhythms and beauty of the natural world, The Offering is a novel taut with foreboding, a haunting tale of misplaced faith and a heartbreakingly damaged psyche.


[There has been a great deal of talk here recently about an event concerning myself and Dr Lucas, which took place from what I can gather in the Platnauer Room some two weeks ago.]


(Sceptre, 15 January 2015, borrowed from my library)




This is my first time reading the author.

I thought The Offering was a great read. It turned out to be a little different than I expected, which is a good thing. I like being surprised.

I liked the way the novel is structure, moving back and forth between the psychiatric hospital where Madeline has been a patient for 20 years and her past as the new doctor, Dr Lucas tries new therapy to unlock her memories.

I thought Madeline’s childhood on the farm was incredibly sad. Despite her parents best efforts nothing turned out right and their situation grew more and more desperate as her father struggled to find work. Madeline’s solution, to ask God for help has dark consequences.

The Offering turned out to be darker than I expected. I wasn’t prepared for the shocking turn of events when Madeline recovers her memories. I guess some memories should remain buried.



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