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The Followers

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  617 ratings  ·  96 reviews
On the windswept moors of northern England, a small religious cult has cut itself off from society, believing they have found meaning in a purposeless world. Led by their prophet, Nathaniel, they eagerly await the end times. But when the prophet brings in Stephanie and her rebellious daughter Judith, the group’s delicate dynamic is disturbed. Judith is determined to escape ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published April 21st 2016 by Picador (first published May 21st 2015)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  617 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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The Followers centres on Stephanie and Judith, a thirtysomething single mother and her 12-year-old daughter stuck in a mundane cycle of life in a small Northern town. Stephanie is working in a drab café and struggling to make ends meet when she meets a handsome, charismatic man called Nathaniel. The impact of their ensuing relationship is life-changing for her, and so she allows herself to be manipulated into joining the Ark, a religious group he is a part of. With no belief in gods or God, Step ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
The Followers is a not-so-subtle allegory on its surface, but the nuanced characters and telltale story by British writer Wait keeps it contemporary, fresh, and provocative. It begins now, with a young woman, Judith, reluctantly visiting her mother, Stephanie, in prison. It’s evident that this is an ongoing yet uncomfortable face-to-face, where the conversation stays safe with topics of movies and books. At home, Judith isolates and chooses unhealthy habits in order to escape from the memories o ...more
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What would cause a normal person to lose all sense of individuality and right and wrong, and slavishly follow a charismatic leader? From the Manson murders to the Jonestown tragedy, we’ve seen the magnetic pull of the cult on those with porous boundaries, yet still, the topic is fascinating. Perhaps that’s why novelists – from Margaret Atwood to Claire Vaye Watkins – gravitate to the subject.

Rebecca Wait goes back to this well in The Followers—vividly and convincingly spinning a cautionary tale
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This story of a small religious cult, known as the Ark, in a remote moorland setting is interesting enough, though the inevitable ending is so clear from the start that when the 'shock' comes it isn't too shocking. Some of it felt underwritten - the writing is a bit sparse at times, and I would have liked more detail of the lives of the cult followers, more insight into how it feels to devote yourself so totally that you lose your sense of who you are, more sense of the charisma of the leader - ...more
Bill Kupersmith
There is, of course, a religious death cult that is attracting lots of followers in Britain today, but it has no connexion with Christianity. I’d have thought there was about as much need in contemporary England for warnings against Christian cults as for fire insurance in February 2014 in the Somerset Levels. But even before reading the author’s afterword I’d a sense that she’d once had a brush with something of the sort, and I thought The Followers was an excellent depiction of the psychology ...more
Victoria Goldman
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
As soon as I heard about The Followers, I was desperate to read it. Religious cults are a fascinating topic and I'm a big fan of the TV series The Following.

When struggling single mum Stephanie meets Nathaniel, she is sucked deep into his world, along with her 12-year-old daughter Judith. Moving into his small village in the Yorkshire moorlands, little did any of them know that life will never be the same again.

The Followers grabbed my attention from the first page, as 22-year-old Judith visits
Blue Cypress Books
Wasn't blown away by the story but very much appreciated the sensitivity and authenticity the author brought to what could have been an unoriginal story of cult followers and their leader. ...more
Rebecca Wait is certainly not afraid to tackle a difficult fiction topic about love and faith.
Boy oh boy do I love a good cult story. Much like true crime and serial killers, the dark psychology behind cults and the control they exert upon their members has always interested me. So when I heard about THE FOLLOWERS by Rebecca Wait thanks to a New York Times book article, I knew that I wanted to read it. It took a bit, but it finally came up for me on request at the library. I sat down this past weekend intending to start it, and then I ended up reading the whole darn thing in an afternoon ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this novel.
Judi Mckay
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slow start but I ended up enjoying this immensely and I’m looking forward to a great reading group discussion about it.

Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review to come at
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 perhaps...a bit predictable and anti-climactic.
Traci D'antonio
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dammmmn! This book knocked my socks off.
Maya Panika
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A compelling and absorbing tale of a woman's slow absorption into an isolated religious cult and her daughter's lonely, internal, un-realised rebellion against her mother, the cult, and its charismatic, egoistic leader, the sinister Nathaniel.
The story begins with twenty-two year old Judith's prison visits to her all-too normal mother. They discuss the films they have seen, birthdays, domestic details. They never talk about why Judith's mum is in prison, about The Ark and the rapid descent into
Olivia DiGiammarino
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Olivia by: Sanne | Booksandquills
Holy crap. This book was amazing and I am so glad that I ordered it from The Book Depository. For some reason I couldn't find it in Canada. Anyway, you are taken into this mediocre world where life is static and struggling to be static at that. The main character Stephanie seems not to be living for anything or anyone (including her daughter Judith). That's when we're introduced to Nathaniel, the prophet and the leader of the Ark. I definitely don't want to spoil the plot, but what I found so fa ...more
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Followers (Rebecca Wait)

Imagine Stephanie, a bored mother, limited by lack of education and responsibility towards her twelve year old daughter, Judith. Further Stephanie is burdened with a poor relationship with her mother and a lack of friends in the new town in which she now lives.

Stephanie makes her a living as waitress, yet is unfulfilled, bound by routine and poor finances.
Enter into her life a charismatic man, Nathaniel. Stephanie falls for his compliments, enjoys his company, has a f
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having a great indie neighbourhood bookstore is already paying dividends in getting me to read books I might not have looked twice at. The Followers is about a single mom and her daughter who fall into a very insulated cult on a cold, rocky part of the coast of England, just as that cult is starting to fly apart at the seams. It's told alternating between 'present' -- with the mom and daughter, after the cult ends -- and 'past', the story of those final days of the group.

It's engaging and well-w
D Cox
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was ok. A readable story.
It was very quick and not very challenging to read and I didn't feel invested in the characters. I couldn't understand how quickly and easily they were taken in by Nathaniel. Perhaps as a reader I should have been taken in too.

The book had potential but never quite hit it for me.

What I did like was the sense of rage I had on behalf of the characters.

It was an interesting morning but I don't think the book will stay with me. Could be good for people wanting a lighter
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read The View on the Way Down, I was excited to win a copy of The Followers on Goodreads giveaway.

As much of a page turner as Rebecca's last book, I found this a fascinating topic and enjoyed the tension building in the storyline.

I found that sometimes, I got confused on who was who in the Ark taking aside the main characters but this didn't distract from a superb read.
Sue Frances
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Rebecca Wait's first book, A view On the Way Down and this book is equally as good if not better! My heart ached for Judith and Moses. What on earth was Stephanie \Sarah doing? I would love a follow up to this book. Will Stephanie be released and will Judith and Moses live happily ever after? I really hope so! ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won a bundle of 10 copies of this book from the published for my book club. The premise of the book sounded intriguing though had the potential to be challenging and I was surprised at how quick a read it turned out to be. I thought the characters were well-drawn and I liked the technique of changing narrators and hearing about events from the point of view of different people, though I was frustrated at times that I didn't know more about some of them. I found the events in the book disturbin ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a good read. You will be sucked in from the start. Of course, I am always fascinated by books about cults and what draws people into them. Stephanie falls for Nathaniel's charms because that is how he reels people in. But once you are living at the Ark, he is the prophet and what he says goes, even if that means punishing someone with death. (That scene had me in tears) Reading about Judith's progression from rather messed up girl to finding understanding really made the book even s ...more
Lily Emerson
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I have read a LOT of novels set in cults recently, and many of them have focused heavily on the relationships between mothers and daughters. This one has burned especially bright for me, though. Well paced, unforced, the writing feels natural and the characters organic. It proves that a plot doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to be thrilling - that good writing & smart structuring will provide all the tension a reader needs. Judith and Moses both came alive for me and I felt I knew them intimate ...more
Lisa Beaulieu
A sad cautionary tale of what isolation and lack of community, such as Stephanie experienced, can drive us to. I really thought how she fell into cult was well done, and how the connections, or lack of, doomed or, later saved, characters. I did feel overall it lacked heft, lots more I'd like to see covered . .. how Judith got from teens to where we meet her mid 20s, for instance. Overall I liked it. Quite heartbreaking too, but with a light at end of tunnel ending. ...more
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maddie Cooper
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stephanie falls in love and uproots her daughter Judith to go live with bae on his commune. Well, turns out the commune is a cult! Things get weird, then terrible, then deadly.

I’m obsessed with cults and loved how this book shows how easily someone could get involved, then totally sucked in. The extent of the trauma was perfectly captured through narration by adult Judith, with the bulk of the story told in flashbacks.
Nancy Jones
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
Absolutely brilliant!!!! 👏🏼 I hadn't read the synopsis on GoodReads, just the one on the back of the book. I didn't have any idea how this one was going to go - and it was fantastic! The plot builds steadily with a good pace, the characters weave their way into your hearts and you hate the villain more and more as you read; a sign of excellent writing! Just a wonderful book which I thoroughly recommend. ...more
Tina Milledge
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Renika Jacobs
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good book.

This book made me laugh and cry and think. I feel so sorry for kids who are brought into a way of life that they never get a say in. Spirituality to me should be like food, you offer your kids the kind you like and know but let them chose which they prefer or want at all and be there to provide guidance and support.
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Rebecca Wait has been writing for as long as she can remember and has won numerous prizes for short stories and plays. She wrote The View on the Way Down in the evenings whilst working as a teaching assistant. The Followers is her second novel. Rebecca lives in London.

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