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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2017 Costa Biography Award

In the vein of Bad Blood and Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?, an enthralling at times shocking and deeply personal family memoir of growing up in and breaking away from a fundamentalist Christian cult.

'At university, when I made new friends and confidantes, I couldn't explain how I'd become a teenage mother or shoplifted books for years or why I was afraid of the dark and had a compulsion to rescue people without explaining about the Brethren or the God they made for us and the Rapture they told us was coming. But then I couldn't really begin to talk about the Brethren without explaining about my father....'

As Rebecca Stott's father lay dying, he begged her to help him write the memoir he had been struggling with for years. He wanted to tell the story of their family, who, for generations, had all been members of a fundamentalist Christian sect. Yet each time he reached a certain point, he became tangled in a thicket of painful memories and could not go on.

The sect were a closed community who believed the world is ruled by Satan: nonsect books were banned, women were made to wear headscarves and those who disobeyed the rules were punished. Rebecca was born into the sect, yet as an intelligent, inquiring child she was always asking dangerous questions. She would discover that her father, an influential preacher, had been asking them, too, and that the fault line between faith and doubt had almost engulfed him.

In In the Days of Rain, Rebecca gathers the broken threads of her father's story and her own and follows him into the thicket to tell of her family's experiences within the sect and the decades-long aftermath of their breaking away.

©2017 Rebecca Stott (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Beautiful, dizzying, terrifying, Stott's memoir maps the unnerving hinterland where faith becomes cruelty and devotion turns into disaster. A brave, frightening and strangely hopeful book." (Olivia Laing, author of The Lonely City)
"A marvellous, strange, terrifying book, somehow finding words both for the intensity of a childhood locked in a tyrannical secret world, and for the lifelong aftershocks of being liberated from it." (Francis Spufford, author of Golden Hill)
"By rights Rebecca Stott's memoir ought to be a horror story. But while the historian in her is merciless in exposing cruelties and corruption, Rebecca the child also lights up the book, so passionate and imaginative that it helps explain how she survived, and - even more miraculous - found the compassion and understanding to do justice to the story of her father and the painful family life he created." (Sarah Dunant, author of The Birth of Venus)

What listeners say about In the Days of Rain

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  • Colliedog
  • 06-06-18

Breathtaking, haunting, tragic.

A glimpse into a world resembling Orwell’s 1984, only with religion, and continuing into 2018. What happens when men, drunk with power and self-importance, put themselves above the truth. At the same time it’s a story of love and forgiveness. Being an ex-cult member myself, I found this book was deeply meaningful.

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  • Liz
  • 09-28-18

Interesting story flatly told

I found this book very trying to get through. Her story telling isn't very compelling which is amazing as her story is astoundingly interesting. I had to work quite hard to see that through how it was delivered. It's not terrible, but it did grate a little on the long haul. It'd have benefitted a great deal from being at least an hour shorter and to concentrate more on her experiences than the long sad fade of her father. If you're hesitating to get this - you can do better, choose another book!

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  • Mr Mark Thomas
  • 01-29-18

Captivating

A fascinating insightful memoir. Having bought the book, and never had time to sit and read it, I bought the audio book to listen to it whilst driving. On more than one occasion I found myself sitting in my car at the end of my journey, determinedly listening in to the end of the chapter, and then listening to just one more. Rebecca Stott's reading of her own book takes us right back with her, to different times and the very different world she grew up in. And we're blessed that she's chosen to tell her own - and her father's - story.

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  • Mr Gregory P Morris
  • 11-20-20

Close to home

I have just finished listening to this audio book after leaving a considerable gap after starting this book and enjoyed it immensely. I should perhaps say that I am from the same background as Rebecca Stott though I was born in 1969 and did not really experience the Taylor "system" at all. I am also from the same area of the world and grew up in Haywards Heath in Sussex. I grew up in the meeting there and had a most happy childhood in that fellowship not without its griefs and pains but I could always trace the rainbow through the rain. I don't normally write reviews of books online or elsewhere, not because I am a rubbish writer and apt to go off at tangents but because I am a mild-mannered sort of chap who isn't generally bestirred to wade into controversy. I did however know Roger Stott - very slightly. I met him occasionally at my aunt and uncle's rather grand house on Muster Green but my memories of him on the internet are somewhat clearer. We crossed swords several times and it is because those same issues arise again, that I have put electronic pen to virtual paper. Mainly we argued on the priniciples of Textual Criticism of which he knew next to nothing though hugely widely read in literature, the arts and the brethren's minisitry not to mention the Bible. He was larger than life even in an online debate and was an intimidating though not unfriendly opponent. The book is delightfully read by Rebecca Stott herself. If we have met, it would be in the mists of time. I am conscious that relatives of mine are also her kith and kin and that some of the things she narrates will have caused some embarrassment and shame (that might be an unavoidable side effect of uncovering the truth) There are various issues arising which trouble me - they are not necessarily the fruit of mature reflection though they have puzzled me for some time. Some years ago, Ann Thwaite brought out her work "Glimpses of the Wonderful" on Henry Gosse, the brilliant and somewhat underrated father of Edmund Gosse, the author of Father and Son of whom she was also the biographer. It is a long time since I read either but I recall feeling that Edmund Gosse (though an affectionate son) seems to have erred on the side of literary creativeness when describing his father's strictness. Henry Gosse was a Plymouth Brother and by all accounts quite a strict one but an unconventional and brilliant person who could hardly be described as a run of the mill PB. Gosse Jnr makes a lot of the unconventionality of his upbringing even by Victorian standards and that is fine as far as a novel might go but what are we to do when the historicity of an account is assumed and a certain credibility is asked for? This is always a problem. And it was a problem listening to this delightful work. As I listened to it on the long and beautiful commute to work, I kept hearing things which didn't quite ring true - anachronisms - just little things sometimes which made me wonder. If I had been reading, I would have marked the place with a pencil and pondered the issue later: when you are trying to avoid mad lorry drivers fleeing at top speed from Holyhead to the border, you don't always have time to rewind and listen again. These slight errors are distracting and in themselves not especially important but they do raise issues about the credibility of the witness in historical terms, though the uninformed listener to the novel would not be perturbed at all by them. There is for example, the tendency to say, Brethren were not allowed to do this or that or the other and to generalise from one's own particular experience. Here again there is a discrepancy which is very interesting. I asked my father (who is mentioned unnamed, I think) whether the Morrises had newspapers and novels etc throughout the 1960s and it is clear that they did. My grandmother Morris would not have been so docile in giving up reading yet alone throwing away precious gems of English Literature. Indeed she kept up a correspondence with her uncle, Richard Kelland (a very eccentric relative who remained with the Taylor Brethren after 1970) a wide ranging correspondence which encompassed even modern literature in its scope. I would have to check again but my impression of scanning these letters is that they both took and read the Spectator and read the literary reviews. Fortunately, Grandma kept diaries which give through the 1960s a record of her own attendance at meetings, the scriptures read, those who ministered etc with not infrequent commentary on the quality of the ministry. She frequently notes the times that Roger Stott and others came to Haywards Heath to show the dear brethren there the way more exactly. It is clear to me that he was sent as an enforcer of the system seeking to impose it on people who consistently objected to it. It is not always clear to be sure, whether RS is Roger or Robert Stott but despite the frequent approvals of RS's ministry in terms of exposition, the gulf between these people is clear. Indeed just about the whole of the Haywards Heath meeting left the Taylorite fellowship in 1970 after the Aberdeen incident and with every subsequent division sought a return to classic EB doctrines in so far as they could be shown to be scriptural. My grandmother records a terrible meeting with Philip Cowley in Brighton where the scripture was Jael and Sisera. Underneath she wrote very clearly "Could have done with a tent peg myself". I was told by the blessed Margaretta Siderfin that she had always seen my grandparent's house, Crowhurst, as a sanctuary where she could say just exactly what she thought about what was going on and no one would blab about it. So while Roger Stott was busy seeking to power build, there were those who just got on with their lives in the fellowship regardless and despite his efforts to subdue them. Not that there weren't stormy seas for those keeping their heads below the parapet but many were (forgive the mixed metaphor) securely anchored and there was (again witnessed by my grandmother Morris's diary) a great deal of excellent spiritual food: there is corn to be had even in Egypt. It doesn't make such a dramatic story but when the whole thing collapsed, you find that those that held more lightly to the system were perhaps not so violently set off course spiritually. They hadn't invested so much in the outward forms but had clung to the inward certainties of the faith. They didn't all blame the whole of their subsequent misfortunes on the brethren since they had never really joined the thing or bought into it. One might say, they were waiting for deliverance from it. I do not doubt that fear kept many of them in much longer than they would have ordinarily stayed and I do not want to underestimate the terrible consequences of such cruelty to innocent people as was habitually practised. It would be most interesting to hear Mrs Stott's side of the story, she is still living but I would hope that her memoirs would encourage an account to be made of the resilience, resourcefulness and courage of so many of these sisters among the brethren - a quality that shines out as a very welcome ray in this account of Roger Stott's life. Pray to the Lord and not give him rest for the deliverance of those still ensnared in such a terrible system of spiritual slavery, that they may, in the words of one of our Sussex saints, know him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly, day by day. Amen. Gregory Morris

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  • polly
  • 03-09-19

A moving memoir of childhood

Rebecca Stott both writes and reads beautifully - her memoir of a childhood bound by the rules and regulations of The Brethren is almost unbelievable, when you realise other families are living like this in the UK and other countries today. Her and her family's gradual realisation that things are not as they should be within the hierarchy of the Brethren brings relief tempered with anger and sorrow. Descriptions of her childhood forays into locked rooms, hidden boxes, to try and make sense of her life are wonderfully recounted and it is with relief that, as the reader follows her into adulthood, she emerges as a sane, sensible, gifted writer, relatively un-haunted by the gods and demons of her past. A very interesting book, well worth listening to.

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  • caroline
  • 02-02-19

Shocking

Having escaped a brethren church myself this book really had a huge impact on me and my understanding of how a modern cult managed to get me into its grip then keep me there for many years It’s a must read for any Christian or anyone who has an interest in cult brain washing Beautifully written heart breaking and shocking the Author has bravely opened many old wounds to give the reader a complete understanding of how and why cults are still alive and well in our modern world Read by the Author making it feel so much more personal I recommend this book to everyone who has any interest in cults and cult behaviour

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  • Ricci
  • 12-09-18

Worthy

Someone with A level British History and an Art Lit degree wishes to recycle some of her essays. Dull in parts. A bit of virtue and privilege signalling towards the end. Where this book excells is as an account of being a child in a branch of Christianity so strict it morfed into a cult - those straight narratives and internal molologues really matter. And the moral of the story is ... always talk properly to the kids.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-13-18

Excellent book

A very honest account and a great questioning style. For a Christian reader so sad that a gospel of love was and is so distorted. The patriarchal culture effectively silencing women was questioned but I'd like to see Rebecca explore more. Perhaps another book?

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  • Hannah Devoy
  • 07-08-18

An interesting family story

Stott narrates the tale of her family, from the generations first ‘caught up’ in the Brethren to how she, along with her parents and siblings, managed to escape into the outside world. It provides a fascinating insight into the inner workings of a fundamentalist religious regime, or cult, and is a deeply personal account of a family within. Some of the language was, at times, a little melodramatic. I also felt it was a shame that so much of the story was focused on Stott’s father, as I found him fairly unpleasant. I would have liked to have found out more about Stott’s mother, for example, to hear more about how she has coped having left the community she had always known and then after her marriage ended. Nevertheless, worth a read/listen.

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  • Stylo
  • 02-05-18

Interesting story

Rebecca Stott writes well and her account of life in a cult is fascinating and frightening. I recommend reading this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-05-20

Fascinating story

Amazing story, a bit repetitive/wordy but a good read overall. It is a story that needs to be told.