Maude still remembers the sound of the gate being locked behind her. She was three years old when they moved into the secluded manor, and she would only be allowed out again a handful of times. Her parents belonged to a fanatical Masonic order who believed that it was their sacred duty to turn her into the ultimate survivor. She followed a strict schedule of study, hard labour and endless drills designed to 'eliminate weakness', such as holding an electric fence without flinching and sitting still in a rat-infested cellar. But Maude's parents could not rule her inner life. Befriending animals on the lonely estate and characters in the books she read, Maude nurtured in herself the compassion and love her parents forbade
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