Rebecca Wait’s The Followers features in The Guardian’s top cult books

We are delighted that Rebecca Wait’s The Followers, a powerful and unsettling novel about a mother and daughter drawn into a small religious cult by it’s charismatic leader, has been featured in The Guardian‘s ‘Top 10 books about cults‘. Selected by journalist and author of The Rapture Claire McGlasson, The Followers appeared alongside Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Tara Westover’s memoir Educated. McGlasson said the novel ‘explores compelling questions of culpability and our capacity for forgiveness.’

The Followers was published in the UK by Picador in May 2015. Rebecca’s latest novel, Our Fathers, a beautiful and devastating story about a shocking murder-suicide that rocks a small island community in the Hebrides, will be published in hardback by riverrun in January 2020.

Judith has been visiting her mother, Stephanie, in prison once a month for the last eight years. Nearly a hundred stilted half hours – hundreds of failed conversations, hundreds of topics avoided. Neither of them can bring themselves to talk about what brought them here – or about Nathaniel . . .

When Stephanie first meets him, she is a struggling single mother and Nathaniel is a charismatic outsider, unlike anyone she’s ever known. In deciding to join the small religious cult he has founded high on the moors, Stephanie thinks she is doing the best for her daughter: a new home, a new life, a new purpose.

Judith has never trusted Nathaniel, but even she can’t foresee the terrible things that lie ahead. From the moment they arrive, the delicate dynamic of Nathaniel’s followers is disturbed. Judith’s restlessness and questions unsettle the children who’ve never known life outside the cult – all except loyal Moses, who will do anything to be her friend. Meanwhile, as Stephanie slowly surrenders herself to Nathaniel’s will, tensions deepen, faith and doubt collide, and a horrifying act of violence changes everything. In the shattering aftermath, no one seems safe, and for Judith and Moses the biggest leap of faith is still to come . . .

Rebecca Wait graduated from Oxford University in 2010 with a first class degree in English. She’s been writing since she was a child and has won numerous prizes for short stories and plays. She lives in London.