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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Review: In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult

In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult by Rebecca Stott
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

**I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Rebecca Stott was born fourth-generation Exclusive Brethren, an infamous and extremely conservative Christian-based cult. How did those experiences shape her development and the rest of her life? How much did it contribute to her father's volatile personality?

The story
Ms. Stott promised her father that she would write a book about his life. She spent the first seven or so years of her life in the Exclusive Brethren, an extreme version of the Plymouth Brethren, during which time her father was a very prominent member. She shares her experiences, which are validated and fleshed-out using news clippings and interviews from other former members. Her father died before the book could be completed; however, Ms. Stott attempts to honor his memory as she exposes the volatile and unforgiving world of the Exclusive Brethren, starting in the early years of her great-grandparents and continuing through her childhood and the years immediately following her family's withdrawal.

Literary analysis
I was disappointed in the overall content of this book. The topic - one family's experiences in a cult - was promising and I had high hopes. The book spends a lot of time building up to the actual cult information. The author talks at length about her promise to her father, her struggle to find the time/energy to write the book, her fears surrounding the controversial topic, etc. Once she gets to what is, in my opinion, the meat of the book, it is hard to follow. The timeline bounces around constantly. I regularly had to go back a few pages or even chapters to try to figure out where I was in her historical context. The ending was also unsatisfactory, leaving me feeling like the author had simply run out of things to say and so ended rather glibly.

There were several supposedly Biblical references that were incorrect (e.g. the author states that Joseph was the youngest son of Jacob; this is not true - Benjamin was the youngest son.), as well as grammatical errors. As I received an advance copy, I expect that some of these mistakes have been corrected before publication in July 2017. I found this book difficult to read and considered abandoning it more than once.

I do not recommend this book. There are surely better historical and even personal accounts of the Exclusive Brethren out there if you are curious. The errors and disjointed nature of this book, along with the Ms. Stott's style of writing, were not engaging or easy to read. This is, however, only my opinion as requested by the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

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