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Follow Me to Ground

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  184 ratings  ·  67 reviews
A haunted, surreal debut novel about an otherworldly young woman, her father, and her lover that culminates in a shocking moment of betrayal—one that upends our understanding of power, predation, and agency.

Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals—or “Cures”—by cracking open their damaged bodies or
Hardcover, 208 pages
Expected publication: January 21st 2020 by Scribner (first published May 31st 2018)
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  • Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford
    Follow Me to Ground
    Release date: Jan 21, 2020
    Enter for a chance to win this fascinating, frightening, and propulsive debut novel by a prizewinning author.

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    Giveaway dates: Nov 11 - Dec 11, 2019

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    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 3.97  · 
    Rating details
     ·  184 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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    Gumble's Yard
    Re-read following its long listing for the 2019 Republic of Consciousness Prize and now longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize.

    Now that she was open the room had filled up with the tearing sound, the clotting was given off a smell of blueberries left to long on the stove. I started humming, feeling my way towards the pitch of her hurt. The baby was sleeping; I could see its little shoulders through the curtain of her womb when I lifted the bladder aside.

    Once the humming and the tearing
    Paul Fulcher
    Now longlisted for the 2019 Desmond Elliot Prize

    I peeled back the wet slap of her womb. The baby was still in evidence, like the unevenness to grass where some animal has stopped to graze.

    Longlisted for the 2019 Republic of Consciousness Prize

    The judge’s nomination:
    Sue Rainsford achieves something quite uncanny: believability. Her characters are not human (as “normally conceived”) but human-like creatures who live on the edge of a village and tend to the sick and dying by burying them in the
    Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm, Myrtle Beach
    Follow Me to Ground has to be one of the strangest books I have ever read... but I loved it. The author's writing was beautiful, and the story was so different. Once I started it, I read it every second I had a chance until it was done.

    I would have liked more explanation about everything (literally everything) but I think that is part of the magic and the draw of this book.

    And that cover!
    Longlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2019

    My penultimate book from the RofC longlist and the strangest one yet. It is unquestionably highly imaginative and well written, but the whole thing is a little too distanced from reality for my taste, like a magic realist nightmare without the realism.

    Fortunately, my Mookse group friends have already written detailed reviews that saw more in it than I did, so I recommend these by Paul, Gumble's Yard and Neil.
    Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: 2019-rofc, 2019
    I opened this novel with no idea what it was about and with no knowledge of the author. Part of the reason I didn’t know the author is that (I have since discovered) this is her first novel although she has written about many other books.

    Having now read the book, I have to say that I think coming at it with no prior knowledge might be the best way to experience it. For that reason, I am going to try to avoid details of the plot apart from maybe a bit of scene setting that might creep in.

    Renee Godding
    5/5 stars

    I had no idea what I was getting into when starting Follow me to Ground, and I won't lie: throughout the first 50 pages I was utterly lost. This incredibly unique magical realism debut shifts the balance between familiar and alien far towards the latter, with its story surrounding a not-quite-human father and daughter, using something between witchcraft and magic to heal the sick in their neighbouring village. It had me confused and a little unsettled at first, but it pulled me in like
    Amy Imogene Reads
    Oct 29, 2019 marked it as to-read
    When books are described as haunting, you know I'm there. This sounds like a beautiful nightmare of lyrical fiction.

    Thank you to Scribner for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
    Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: roc-2019
    Somehow this managed to press all the wrong buttons for me. I read the first 100 pages carefully after which I skimmed the last 100 (life is too short etc.), so I’m not the best critic of this book. #notforme
    Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I read this book as part of the 2019 Republic of Consciousness Longlist.
    It is full of Magic Realism, which differs from fantasy in that the strange and impossible events are seen as “normal” by the characters. This MR was so well-written that the fantastical events began to seem REAL to me! See my Booktube review at
    Dreamlike, strange, and compelling story about two static, otherworldly beings who have long lived on the outskirts of town and used strange powers to heal the ailments of those seeking help. This book is a trip, with an interestingly unreliable narrator. It's really well written.. and also very wtf. Right up my alley in other words!
    Samantha Marie
    Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: magical-realism
    Utterly mesmerising. Wholly original. Couldn't put it down.
    3.5 stars rounded up.

    Follow Me To Ground was one of those books with a super gripping story and an even better group of characters. Though it was set in our world, Rainsford writes magical realism very well to allow the book’s setting to feel alien. Although there were some parts of the magical realism that didn’t appeal much to me, the book was largely satisfying in its ability to create a supernatural environment without the negative attachments you usually find in books that surround any kind
    ambiguity on where and when this is set - feels like mid to late 20th century rural Ireland

    a non-human, elemental, grown from the earth father and daughter, tend to the local peoples' (the Cures) ailments through opening them up and manipulating the body, removing growths, and even burying them for extended period to allow the Ground to work on them. Are treated with mix of fear, superstition and reverence by community

    daughter wants to form a relationship with a damaged / potentially abusive
    Lolly K Dandeneau
    Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
    via my blog:
    'There is something Cures don’t know about their curing. The sickness isn’t gone. It just goes elsewhere.'

    Ada and her father are some sort of creature that is both human and not. Of course, her father is wilder than her, hunting in the night on all fours, but not Ada. She has her own desires. Their purpose is to heal the “Cures”, the local humans who come to them for help for all their maladies. Sometimes its requires rooting around through the
    Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
    So different and strange, loved it

    The story was very disorienting at first but once the words and concept sank in I plowed through. The characters don’t exactly fit into a cookie cutter supernatural cast but it did seem like werewolf (Father) and witch/fairy (Ada) were where my mind kept going. Burying people and having them rise and be reborn - vampires/zombies.

    That’s me, the Twilight generation, sorry.

    That’s probably taking away from all the deep philosophical and biblical references I’m
    Lauren Jones
    More like a 2.5/5

    I enjoyed this but I haven't a god damn clue what the last few pages were about. What the hell happened? I want to give it a better rating because I did love the premise and the writing style but that was just too odd for me. Also, the twist was easily guessed, but as it was in Ada's perspective, she didn't really understand what was happening.

    May re-read this at some point.
    Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Wow! This book is so bizarre which makes it awesome!
    Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: fantasy
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Strange and lovely.
    Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This is one of my favourite reads of the year so far.

    ‘Follow Me To Ground’ is so earthy yet other worldly. Although this book is set on our planet, it feels like it’s own little world. There’s just something about this book.
    It’s written so beautifully, which just adds to the whole atmosphere of this wonderful novel.

    I’ve seen people say that the ending of Ada being surprised by what Samson has done as weakness, when it’s obvious to the reader, but for me this just adds to the book. Ada, is a
    Jill Elizabeth
    Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
    Wow. That happened...

    Seriously - this was WEIRD. Even for me. I liked the beginning A LOT - then it just felt like it jumped the shark and shifted focus and from there on out it was different and weird and full of a lot of sex and randomness... I can't say that I liked it. It's original and odd and I liked the concept, but the read was bizarre and a bit all over the place, but not necessarily in a bad way. I know that makes NO SENSE, but that's how it felt reading it.

    I'm not sorry I read it, as
    Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This exciting debut novel by Sue Rainsford is written in rich, earthy prose and is daring and adventurous in its scope. I was captivated and entranced by the world of magic realism inhabited by the characters, and found myself dreaming of the book while asleep, and yearning for it while awake.
    So what's it about? "Woman is not born, woman is made." So said Simone de Beauvoir, and it is true of Ada our protagonist who was made by her father and birthed from The Ground, a patch of land at the back
    Karen Mace
    I found this to be a dark, strange, absorbing and extremely enjoyable read! One of those books that didn't always work for me, but the bits that did were so captivating that I just wanted to read on!

    Ada and her father live in the woods and they aren't human. But they're 'tolerated' by the humans living nearby as they have gifts that means that they can cure sickness. It's how they get by.

    Ada was made from The Ground nearby, which is a patch of earth that has birthing and healing properties - it
    Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I received an ARC as a result of a goodreads giveaway for this one, and let me just say it was...interesting. It's got the feel of an old folklore, similar in tone and style to Virginia Hamilton's The People Could Fly. While I wouldn't say that the book is as "deep" as other reviews have made it out to be, it was definitely a new take on something old, and it was a nice change of pace. There were certain aspects of the book that made it read like YA instead of adult, including the stilted ...more
    Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
    3.5/5 stars rounded up to 4

    What a unique novel. I've got such complicated feelings about it, which has led to my indecisiveness over how to rate it. On one hand, the novel's originality and its gorgeous language make it stand out from the other books I've read this past year, both on NetGalley and on my own. On the other hand, there are so many questions I have that I didn't find the answers to throughout the novel. That might be my own problem, which I fully accept, but I did peep a number of
    Tracey Thompson
    Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
    I was thrilled to be able to read this as an ARC through NetGalley.

    What a strange little novel this is, and I mean that in the best possible way. Gorgeous, lyrical prose, expressed by a refreshingly no-nonsense narrator.

    Ada was created by her father, to help him in his vocation of performing strange medical procedures on the people of the village. But when Ada becomes intertwined with an odd young man, she begins to question she life she has inherited, and things get even weirder.

    My wheelhouse
    Maureen Mayer
    Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    3.5 stars

    This was a very strange and unique book that was a bit fantasy, a bit romance, and a bit suspense all rolled into one.

    I found the book to be, at times, both enthralling and confusing. The style of writing immediately drew me, and I enjoyed that story went back and forth from Ada’s POV and that of the “Cures”, a name given to the sick locals.

    But there were scenes that I felt weren’t given enough details. I think in some instances it was intended for the reader to infer what was
    Ellis (whatellisreadnext)
    'This is something Cures don't know about their curing.
    The sickness isn't gone.
    It just goes elsewhere.'
    Ada and her father live in a house next to The Ground. Cures (people) come to them with different ailments hoping to be fixed, those that are especially sick get buried in The Ground and rise anew. When Ada falls for Samson, a human boy, her Father is not happy.
    It's really hard to put this book into words, if you like strange dark books about magic then you're in for a treat. The prose in
    Rachel Gibb
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Delany Holcomb
    Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Haunting, visceral, and dark, Sue Rainsford's "Follow Me to Ground" is a the story of Ada and her Father, two obscure and unearthly healers that live far away from a town where they tend to the Ground and the "Cures" that come seeking their aid. Ada, born from the twigs and clay of the earth itself, begins to learn human love and longing, and as she grows further and further away from her Father and the Ground that made her, strange things begin to happen. Rainsford's story sings the sad song of ...more
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