I have a bit of a reputation in my book clubs for not liking books which have been chosen – sometimes books I’ve chosen! I admit I am a bit of a fussy reader, maybe I’m just a fussy person… I prefer to say particular! We’re meeting for book club tonight and it’s a book I suggested having heard the author being interviewed on the radio.
The novel is ‘The Rapture’ by Claire McGlasson. When I choose titles for my books I always worry in case there’s already a book with that same title so when I heard the programme and only caught the title and looked it up, I found there were several books with the same title. There was the famous book club meeting when I went along having read ‘A Girl on a Train’ only to find out I should have read ‘The Girl on a Train’… Luckily I’d heard enough of the interview to know that the novel was about The title refers to what certain Christian sects believe will be the time when the believers and the dead are literally raised and go to heaven in clouds of glory. The subject of the book is based on an actual British sect called the Panacea Society which was founded in 1919 in Bedford by Mabel Barltrop – and she appears as one of the main characters.
The story concerns her imagined daughter Dilys and is an absolute page turner and beautifully written. This is Claire McGlasson’s first novel and I can’t wait for her next. The quality of her writing is extraordinary! In many ways not much happens except for the internal rivalries and jealousies of the members of the sect, and most of it takes place within their premises on Albany Road in Bedford. There is a museum about the Panacea Society which you can visit in Bedford, and I’m very interested to do do so next time we’re over that way! Although not much happens the book is utterly gripping, but despite that I didn’t race through, but read every word.
It’s not often that I recommend a book without adding a ‘however’, or an ‘although’, but in this case I absolutely do! I wonder what the others in book club will think?
Here is a link to the Panacea Society: