Topley’s family gives Maeve a vision of another life that she, too, can have once she turns 18 leaves Uncle Lou. But when Topley suddenly falls ill and her desperate mother resorts to some of Uncle Lou’s medicine, Maeve’s dream of a better life changes to one of revenge.Maeve’s world of Falside is grim and bleak where women are restricted and controlled and viewed as property. The birth of female children has, unaccountably, become a rare occurrence, and leaving Falside is viewed as treasonous and punishable by death. But there is a glimmer of revolution here and there such as in “The Paper Duchess,” an old bookstore off the beaten path, where Denver, Kerise, and Tale try to discover what happened to Maeve’s mother.
The Bottle Stopper is a dark and well-developed beginning to The Paper Duchess series. It is recommended for readers that enjoy dystopian tales and those with similarities to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.