I finally got around to reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I read this soon after my reread of The Handmaid’s Tale so the world of Gilead was still fresh in my mind. The Testaments is set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale and unfortunately it doesn’t include much detail about what happened to Offred.
It’s definitely a different kind of story to The Handmaid’s Tale. Much more commercial and action-driven. Gilead is still a big, bad place, but not as scary as when viewed from Offred’s point-of-view.
This time around there are three female narrators. One is Aunt Lydia who seems to be at the pinnacle of what little power a woman can wield in Gilead. We learn more about her backstory and get a surprising look into how Aunt Lydia really feels about Gilead and her role within it. My preconceived expectations of her character were challenged during the course of this book.
Then there’s Agnes – the teenage daughter of a Commander. She struggles after the death of her mother, especially when her father remarries. It seems her destiny is to be married off to an older man.
The third point-of-view belongs to another teenage girl named Daisy. She grows up in a free Canada. But she soons learns of her connection to Gilead. Each girl/woman has a fascinating story to tell.
I found The Testaments to be a reader-pleaser sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. I read it quickly and thought it was superbly written, but it didn’t affect me like The Handmaid’s Tale did. It lacked the menace and power of the original story. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Verdict: The must-read sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.
Have you read The Testaments? What did you think?