The Testaments

The Testaments Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE A modern masterpiece that "reminds us of the power of truth in the face of evil” (People)—and can be read on its own or as a sequel to Margaret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale.  

“Atwood’s powers are on full display” (Los Angeles Times) in this deeply compelling Booker Prize-winning novel, now updated with additional content that explores the historical sources, ideas, and material that inspired Atwood. 
More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third: Aunt Lydia.  Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways.
With The Testaments, Margaret Atwood opens up the innermost workings of Gilead, as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

Book Reviews


my fave5 star

this is my all time my favorite book ever. i highly recommend <355


Terrifyingly prophetic5 star

Please put this on screen to reach more people. Margaret Atwood is an oracle in our time.55


It’s a must read5 star

Couldn’t stop reading…!55

Susea q

Aunt Lydia does it again4 star

Being a fan of watching Handmaids tales I couldn’t wait to read this. It was nice to see Hannah and Nicole meet. The story explained Aunt Lydia more which made me not hate her.45


Riveting5 star

Loved it. Truly gave me closure.55


Difficult Start but Gripping5 star

I found this book hard to get into but once you are hooked, it’s hard to put down. A rarely accurate look at the dark side of human nature and doing whatever is needed, when being brave it all one has left. Beautifully descriptive writing as always from Atwood.55


So disappointing3 star

I like Margaret Atwood but this is not her best work. I don’t know how it got such good reviews.35


Amazing!5 star

I love this whole storyline set in the future even after with what the show covers and I hope the show picks up this storyline.55


A fiction book with relatable experience5 star

This book absolutely took my breath away. The way that modern events are similar to events happening in this book is quite clever. As a woman this book hit hard. From Agnes to Nicole, their experiences resonated with my own struggles as a woman in America.55


Much better upon a second reading. ✌️👍3 star

(WARNING: Potential Spoiler) First time around this book doesn’t make a whole lot of sense (especially in the first half). This is primarily because there is a vital aspect of the story and setting that is never explained (you just kinda figure it out): 15 years later. The Testaments takes place 15 years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale (that would’ve good to know 🤬). Another key aspect of the story that I think should’ve been known from the beginning in order to better understand the characters we’re following, is that (view spoiler). Instead, it is done as a surprise reveal about half way through (hens why the first half didn’t make a whole lot of sense), but upon a second reading, I personally enjoyed the book more knowing this from the beginning. *This part is a HUGE, HUGE negative for me because it relies entirely on the TV show.* 👎 (yes, unfortunately the book makes a lot more sense if you’ve seen the show) But the biggest downfall here is the epilogue, which chronicles the future/history of the collapse of Gilead and the fate of all our characters, past and present. Ironic, considering that Margaret Atwood herself stated that explaining the collapse of Gilead was the purpose of writing this book in the first place (also, once again, there is a heavy reliance on the reader having seen the show in order to fully understand everything). As a stand-alone book, it provides good closure to its own story. As a series, it only serves to ruin a first entry that was never meant to have a sequel. Sometimes the best ending is no ending. While I am not a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, I do recognize that it is a good book. And its ambiguity is what made it good. The lack of information we’re given because we’re following a single POV from a lower class character was not only understood, but accepted. It made us wonder, it made us question, and encouraged us to use our imagination to fill in the blanks. The ending alone is the very definition of “fear for the worst, hope for the best.” Many questions were left unanswered, and the book was all the better for it. The Testaments, however, seems to have set out to answer these questions. Using the tactic of exploring multiple POV’s in order to fill in any potential gaps, and jumping forward into the future to tie up any loose ends. For most books this would be a good thing, except for when the readers fear of the unknown is your friend. In this, the stories ambiguous nature that made the first book so good is suddenly stripped away, and provides you with the happy ending you never realized you didn’t want. 👍 On the positive side, almost every aspect of The Testaments is a step up from The Handmaid's Tale. The characters are better developed with more emotion, and the narrative is more focused, giving the characters more direction and purpose, all done while adding greater tension and higher steaks. Independently they are both good books, but as a series all they do is clash. And while good, they could’ve been great. Even though The Handmaid’s Tale came out over 30 years ago and The Testaments is an obvious cash grab (that’s right, I said it), in retrospect, it would’ve been so much better if they were 1 book. Take the world building and setup of the first with the story and tension of the second, and it would be even more of a classic.35

Other Books by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake


Oryx and Crake
4     586
The Handmaid's Tale


The Handmaid's Tale
4.5     274
The Year of the Flood


The Year of the Flood
4.5     359

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