Book Review: The Girl From Jonestown by Sharon Maas

Historical fiction that’s not based around WWII? That feels like a rarity, so I was happy to jump on this on.


When journalist Zoe Quint loses her husband and child in a tragic accident, she returns home to Guyana to heal. But when she hears cries and music floating through the trees, her curiosity compels her to learn more about the Americans who have set up camp in a run-down village nearby. Their leader, Jim Jones, dark eyed and charismatic, claims to be a peaceful man who has promised his followers paradise.

But everything changes when Zoe meets one of his followers, a young woman called Lucy, in a ramshackle grocery store. Lucy grabs Zoe’s arm, raw terror in her eyes, and passes her a note with a phone number, begging her to call her mother in America.

Zoe is determined to help Lucy, but locals warn her to stay away from the camp, and as sirens and gunshots echo through the jungle at nightfall, she knows they are right. But she can’t shake the frightened woman’s face from her mind, and when she discovers that there are young children kept in the camp, she has to act fast.

Zoe’s only route to the lost people is to get close to their leader, Jim Jones. But if she is accepted, will she be able to persuade the frightened followers to risk their lives and embark on a perilous escape under the cover of darkness? And when Jim Jones hears of her plans, could she pay the highest price of all?


Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of WWII historical fiction. I’m just trying to diversify my genres/themes a bit and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Plus, I find cults fascinating. How could I pass on The Girl From Jonestown?

I was sucked in by Jim Jones and Jonestown. Stories like this always bring mixed feelings of anger, frustration, disbelief, and sadness. Also, while I understand that this book is just inspired by and not an entire account of what happened, it was a good way to learn more about a topic I had vague knowledge of. Just be warned, the story is chilling and does have some triggers around death and pregnancy loss.

I liked Zoe Quint as a character, but I wasn’t convinced by her story. It may be biased by the fact that I didn’t find her as interesting as the main Jonestown story. However, while I felt like she was full of heart and I did have empathy toward her situation, some of the things she did just didn’t fit. Still, the plot line that follows Zoe did mean that The Girl From Jonestown was a more unique story than if it just rehashed the Jonestown massacre.

Sounds interesting? Pick up your copy here.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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