Review: 'Girl One' an Intense, Thought-Provoking Read

by Christopher Verleger

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday June 27, 2022

Review: 'Girl One' an Intense, Thought-Provoking Read

What if a woman could become pregnant without a male counterpart? Author Sara Flannery Murphy's engrossing supernatural thriller "Girl One" imagines such a world by introducing nine fatherless daughters brought to life by a scientist who recruited the mothers of these young women for an experiment to reproduce completely independently.

Josephine ("Josie"), the first daughter (also known as Girl One), is a graduate student trying to locate her mother, Margaret, who has mysteriously disappeared. Margaret's home was nearly destroyed in a fire, but a few clues remain that compel Josephine to team up with a newspaper reporter and set out on a road trip to locate the eight other women who were also conceived like her and may be able to help her find her mother.

The doctor responsible for these nine "miracle babies," Joseph Bellanger, raised them all on a compound known as "The Homestead" until he met his demise when an arsonist burned it to the ground. Since then, Girls One through Nine have gone their separate ways, most having chosen to live a quieter life out of the spotlight, unlike Josie, who has made headlines with her recent efforts to continue Bellanger's work.

While the inarguably far-fetched story that centers around the origin of Josie is fascinating and highly entertaining on its own, the tangled web of supporting characters and subplots grows more expansive — and intriguing — as she is reunited with each of the mother and daughter pairs from The Homestead during her cross-country adventure. Despite their distinct personalities, the girls learn that they have a lot more in common than just the circumstances of their birth, and although this realization helps them better understand what really happened at The Homestead, it also seemingly puts their lives at risk.

Josie is not the most sympathetic character, initially, but as she discovers the truth about Bellanger and her mother with each chapter, her personal breakthrough is equally evident and admirable. Not only does she begin to rethink the direction of her professional life, her relationship with Cate (Girl Three) has a profound impact on her personally.

"Girl One" has a ton of information to process and digest, which makes for an intense, interesting read, fraught with rich, colorful characters, hair-raising adventure, and thought-provoking topics.

"Girl One" is available now from MCD Books

Chris is a voracious reader and unapologetic theater geek from Narragansett, Rhode Island.