I’m going in record saying that Sarah Hall is one of the most talented writers around today. Her first two novels, The Electric Michelangelo, shortlisted for the Booker prize in 2004, and Haweswater, were both set in her native area of Cumbria. Her third novel Daughters of the North is a bit of a departure, a dystopian novel, with echoes of Margaret Atwoodâ€™s The Handmaidâ€™s Tale. Global warming has caused massive flooding in the UK. Fuel is scarce and drug use is rampant as people try to cope with their bleak lives. Womenâ€™s reproductive rights are strictly controlled; the government fits every woman of childbearing age with a contraceptive coil. The narrator, Sister, has fled her city to a utopian all-female commune called Carhullan. Yet the farm is no paradise. The women work hard, under the tight control of the enigmatic Jackie. Sister comes to love her life after undergoing a complete transformation. But soon the outside world breaks into their scraggy Eden forcing a brutal fight. Hall’s book ask how individuals respond when things get out of control and governments overstep their bounds. What does it take to make someone react? It’s a haunting question as you read about pharmacists who won’t fill prescriptions for birth control and states trying to ban abortion. I was happy to see Hall’s lovely book win the Tiptree award this year.