Tuesday 4 June 2024



Title: The Testaments
The Handmaids Tale
Margaret Atwood
Release Date:
10th September 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her--freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood's sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.

"Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in." --Margaret Atwood

Goodreads Link

This book picks up over fifteen years after Offred’s tale in the Handmaids Tale. The Testaments tells the story of three females from Gilead, Agnes, Aunt Lydia and Nicole.

We learn that though Agnes had a fairly good start at a life with Tabitha and Commander Kyle. Unfortunately, Tabitha is taken ill and when she dies and Commander Kyle takes a new wife called Paula, things rapidly go from bad to worse for Agnes. Then when she is touched inappropriately whilst at the dentist she has no where to turn. The dentist is her best friend Becka’s father so she can’t even really confide in her either. Agnes is being pushed out more and more at home with all Paula’s changes, bringing in a handmaid. Sadly, Ofkyle dies giving birth to baby Mark. Agnes’s popularity goes up and down in a way that shadows her life at home. Agnes overhears people saying that her mother was a slut from before. Agnes leaves behind the pink/plum uniform and is transferred along with some of her friends to wife preparatory school where they wear the light and dark green uniform of those awaiting marriage. Not all the girls wish to be married but their families try and push them into hoping that they are paired with a powerful Commander who will lift the whole family higher on the Gilead hierarchy.

The second female voice of the book is that of Aunt Lydia. We learn about her life “before” Gilead as a Judge who dealt with families and what is considered by Gilead as all that was wrong with society. We discover how Aunt Lydia was herself rounded up when women were stripped of their rights and assets. We see how she was mistreated and forced to do the bidding of the men, though she herself was also instrumental in coming up with some of the punishments for the women who would not comply. A woman who she kind of befriends when they are rounded up, refused to comply and was shot dead in front of Aunt Lydia. The women were made to turn on and turn in each other or not complying with the new rules and ideas. It becomes apparent that Aunt Lydia has worked her way up the ranks of the Aunt’s into a fairly safe position where she can orchestrate certain things to her liking and to further her own cause. She uses her knowledge and position with certain Commanders to get things done, all whilst making the Commander think it was his idea or allowing him to take credit when her idea is applauded by those further up the chain of command in Gilead.

The third female voice is that of a young girl called Daisy who has been living with Melanie and Neil in Canada. All has gone fairly normal and quite mundane in her life until her 16th Birthday when a car bomb explodes and kills both Melanie and Neil. She is grabbed from the street by family friend Ada and taken into hiding. There Daisy takes on a new identity, Jade, in order to hide whilst learning her actual true identity and why it is so important that no one know who she really is. Daisy/Jade is now involved with the resistance against Gilead and is given a very important role to play.

There are some other amazing characters in The Testaments apart from the three main voices of the book. Becka, whose father inappropriately touches Agnes, who defiantly slashes her wrists with gardening secateurs in an effort to avoid a marriage she does not want. Becka is taken away and speaks with Aunt Lydia, Becka then starts her training to become first a missionary and finally a full Aunt herself, taking a new name as all new Aunt recruits do, becoming Aunt Immortelle. Becka hasn’t had a very good life really and she truly believes she can make a difference and really gets on board with the idea of going on a mission. Then at the last moment she is given a different way to help and she unquestioningly does what she perceives to be needed at the time. I also loved the character of Ada, though have to admit that at one point I thought she was going to turn out to be June! I was wrong but Ada is heavily involved with the resistance.

I really, really loved this book and read it fairly quickly, I seriously hated having to put it down! I approached reading The Testaments thinking that all my questions from the Handmaids Tale would be answered, some were, but after finishing The Testamants I had even more! And has made me want even more from Margaret Atwood and this series! I’m also looking forward to watching more of the Handmaids Tale, I’m thinking I will be seeing a few different angles of the story when I do. In fact, The Testaments has made me want to watch the Handmaids Tale from the beginning again. So, whether you have read Handmaids Tale or just watched it on TV I highly recommend you read this unputdownable read!


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