If you wondered, when reading The Handmaid’s Tale, how Gilead came to be, Atwood provides some answers in this novel from the point of view of Aunt Lydia, the most powerful Aunt of all. Atwood connects Lydia’s story with the stories of two other young women: a girl that was spirited out of Gilead as a baby and has grown up under the care of the resistance in Canada; and the daughter of a Commander who is seeking to escape her fate as a Wife. Atwood explores how tyrannies rise, and how they fall, in this powerful novel which could be read as a standalone.  Don’t miss her afterword.