‘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: non-sect 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 The Iron Room 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.
Reviews of In the Days of Rain
Praise for Darwin’s Ghosts:
‘Extraordinarily wide-ranging and engaging … Stott’s gifts as a novelist mean that each of her subjects emerges as living in ordinary weather and among objects, family and political difficulties … She draws on an array of scholarship and assembles it into an intricate sequence of stories and investigations that are her own … Gripping’ Gillian Beer, The Sunday Telegraph
‘Thrilling … impressively researched … A gripping and ambitious history of science which gives a vivid sense of just how many forebears Darwin had; even if none of them can match the man himself’ Sunday Times
‘Rebecca Stott’s beautifully written and compelling book is the story of some of the men – and they were all men – who came before, and how the evolution of their ideas mirrors the evolution of species … These mavericks and heretics put their lives on the line. Finally, they are getting the credit they deserve’ Independent on Sunday
‘Clever, compassionate and compellingly written, Stott has interwoven history and science to enchanting effect. The evolution of the theory of evolution is a brilliant idea for a book, and she has realised it wonderfully’ Tom Holland