The Rapture

Written by Claire McGlasson
Review by Karen Warren

Based on true events, The Rapture is an episode in the life of the Panacea Society, an extraordinary cult centred around Octavia, the self-styled Daughter of God. This is English suburbia in the 1920s, and the cult is populated by respectable ladies (and a very few men). Many of them are independently wealthy, having inherited property when their husbands or fathers were killed in the War. The novel tells the story of Dilys, the youngest member of the Society, and her growing friendship with Grace, a new recruit. Through Dilys’ eyes we watch the mounting tensions and rivalries within the cult, and start to realise that its members may not be as united as they seem…

It is easy to see why people might have been drawn to the Panacea Society. The author contrasts the apparent security of the cult with the tumult of the outside world. Still recovering from the First World War, the country is faced with the General Strike and looming Depression. Individuals have lost family members and friends, and search for security wherever they can find it. Yet that security may just be an illusion, and a safe place can become a prison.

I wasn’t entirely convinced by the ending, but that is a minor quibble. The story is well told and intriguing, keeping the reader guessing as it unfolds its secrets. A recommended read.