The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan
Daaaaaang. In The Hollow Girl, Bethan executes the most brutal rape revenge I’ve seen since Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Bethan lives with her Gran in their vardo within a traveling community of other Romani (Gypsies).
Gran is the much-respected drabarni (wisewoman, witch) in the community. Bethan is her apprentice. One of Bethan’s jobs is to sell their herbs and medicinal remedies in the market. While working at the market, Bethan meets Martyn, a yellow-haired diddicoy (non-Romani) who sells produce from his family’s farm at the spot right next to hers. Their meeting changes everything. The disgustingly evil, entitled, son of the chieftain, Silas, has his sights set on Bethan for his wife. Gran will never allow it. “Be sweet for me,” Silas tells Bethan. And when she’s not, he retaliates. When Silas sees sparks between Bethan and Martyn, he and his four cronies decide it’s time for the two of them to be punished. Martyn is beaten to the point of death. Bethan is brutally raped. Gran tells Bethan the only way to save Martyn is to get revenge on the rapists. Revenge is not sweet. It is horrifying and graphic and exhausting and disgusting and so, so bloody. Bethan knows the carnage will be worth it to save Martyn, but Bethan fears what will become of her after her task is complete.
Written as a tribute to her grandmother, Hillary Monahan has created a horrific and fascinating tale of Romani culture and revenge. This is a short book but not necessarily a quick read, mainly because the scenes of vengeance are powerfully written and difficult to stomach (and I mean that in the best way).