Fiction - Dystopia
254 Pages
Reviewed on 04/21/2021
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Author Biography

Heather Mitchell Manheim grew up in Long Beach, California, but has traveled the world finding inspiration for her stories. After giving up a career in entertainment, she became a school bus driver, and in between her shifts, she writes. She currently lives in Ventura, California with her husband and cat. Marigold is her first novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Peggy Jo Wipf for Readers' Favorite

Marigold is Heather Mitchell Manheim's first novel and it makes an impressive beginning to her vision, writing skills, and ambition. Davis is the poster child of the firstborn child to receive the Marigold inoculation and survive. Shortly afterward her mother dies and she is reared in a private faculty. At twenty-nine, Davis still is not married, which is unusual since the United States is a polygamous country. Just when Davis is supposed to receive her yearly Marigold vaccine, she is kidnapped and taken to a bunker full of rebels. She first struggles with detoxifying from years of injections, next she wrestles with the tales told to her. How can she believe that her trust in the government, which saved her, is based on a lie? Does she even want to be part of the solution?

I found Marigold fascinating as Heather Mitchell Manheim creates a world devastated by disease, only to be rebuilt on pride, the thirst for power, and lust. The common person has everything given to them by the government, only to lose their identity and voice. The story is primarily told by Davis, but others interject their thoughts and desires, giving this inclusive insight into the story. The characters are intense, well-developed, and easy to relate to. Overall, the author skillfully keeps you guessing as to how Davis will handle the situations she finds herself in as two different groups fight for her support. I love the creative way the author weaves special friends within the story. This is the kind of book where you want to race to the end, yet find yourself savoring the journey.

Grace Masso

Marigold by Heather Mitchell Manheim is a dystopian tale with strong themes and compelling characters, set in a post-pandemic era from 2027 to 2056. The narrative follows a set of interesting characters as they deal with political and social realities following the dreaded Lombardi Plague that decimated the population of the United States. Thanks to the Marigold Injection, people can survive. When Davis is suddenly kidnapped, she has more than her job to worry about; she worries about not being able to get the injection. But she eventually understands that there is more at stake than her work as she begins to find out more about her kidnappers and the impossible task they ask her to do. While getting to know her kidnappers, she also discovers that the government might not be the God-sent gift she has imagined it to be. Follow her in a journey that challenges her loyalty, her understanding of family, and a path to love.

This is a well-written novel, and the author ensures that every emotion, scene, and action is captured with a vividness that is clinical. The setting and the social realities come out brilliantly. Some interesting details are included, like the way girls are treated when they reach the age of fifteen and the kinds of jobs they can do. The way people get married has evolved as well as the age of maturity for girls. The writing is confident and it paints a picture of a world recovering from an epidemic, a world that is far different from what it seems. The writing is suspenseful and I enjoyed the way the characters are developed―they are compellingly real and each is written with a background that adds depth to the story. Heather Mitchell Manheim is a great storyteller who does not waste any words, and Marigold is a beguiling tale for fans of dystopian novels.

Vincent Dublado

The current pandemic has become a wellspring of ideas for dystopian novels, and as far as premise goes, it often illustrates how it shapes a bleak future. Marigold by Heather Mitchell Manheim has a storyline built on this kind of blueprint, but its uniqueness is all in the storyline. This is a world trying to rebuild itself after it has been devastated by a deadly virus known as the Lombardi Pandemic, so aptly named after the person who brought the pandemic to the masses. On the bright side of things, the Marigold Injection has been formulated as a successful antidote to combat the plague. Twenty-four years after Davis becomes the first recipient of the Marigold Injection, she is abducted and is made ill by forcing her to miss her vaccines. As she spends time in captivity with her abductors, she will be exposed to hard truths about her identity and the vaccine that keeps her well.

What this novel is really about is its vision. Just when the Marigold Injection appears like a saving grace in this story, it then seems to turn otherwise. The New United States still has a long way to go in terms of rebuilding itself, as the political situation becomes more unstable and not much is left for the citizenry to choose the next leader. The twist in the plot can prove daunting if you put yourself in Davis’s shoes. But the plot is relevant when you think about it: If biological warfare is now the name of the game, Heather Mitchell Manheim shows the possibility that mind control drugs may well become plausible. With a heroine who tries to prevail against a traitorous system, it all comes together as hopeful rather than joyous. The more you turn the pages, the more you are likely to be absorbed and enjoy this novel.