Publisher: Tindal Street Press
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The rise of a religious cult intertwines with the secret history of a family in this tale from a master of suspense at the top of her game
The last time Dodie sees her mother alive, Stella is unusually busy, tattily splendid in an old red velvet dress. Soon after, Dodie's brother Seth goes missing: the only trace of him is through postcards signed "Yours in the Lord" addressed from the Soul Life Centre, New York state. When Stella hangs herself, Dodie must leave her baby Jake at home and cross the Atlantic to bring Seth beck from the mysterious Soul Life Centre. But when she arrives, Seth is always one day away from seeing her. She becomes drawn, not always willingly, into the Brothers and Sisters' communal living, meditation, fasting, and chanting--until baby Jake unexpectedly arrives at Soul Life and events take a shocking turn for Dodie. In a parallel narrative, Stella's sister Melanie tells the story of their teenage years in the 1970s and their shared affair with Bogart, a messianic hippy with shrewd ambition. These two compelling stories collide in a series of shocking revelations and an exhilarating conclusion.
I had never read any books by this author before, but I have just realised she has written quite a few books. She is an English author born 1956 and a couple of her books have won awards.
This book is a very good read. It quickly gets exiting and just when it is at its most exiting point the story changes and and a second story teller is brought in. The book kind of starts again and slowly the author builds up the plot and turns up the excitement again.
The main character which the book first introduces you to, is Dodie. She sees her mother for the last time when she is over at the mother's house to talk to her brother. Dodie herself is an adult now with her own baby (Jake). Her mother is wearing a red velvet dress from the 1970's and is in an unusually good mood. Her mother tells her that her brother, Seth, is not at home. The next time she goes to see her mother she finds her dead. It looks like a suicide. Her brother is missing. She calls her brother's school and the principal tells her that he is in America to visit relatives. Dodie crosses the Antlantic to search for him, and arrives in the arms of a sect.
Shortly after Dodies meeting with the sect a new part of the book begins. It tells the story of her mothers life in the 70's. Eventually it all leads back to the sect. It is a thrill and the book is hard to put down at times. Some positive responses the Author has gotten from other reviews are:
"A natural storyteller who knows how to get the reader to keep turning the pages" Independent
"If only all fiction made you worry and care so hard" Guardian
"A stunning take on religious cults with a great psychological thriller plot. A masterpiece" Sophie Hannah
Malip20 said on Sep 23, 2010, 08:39