Alone and uncertain of herself in her first few weeks at university, Kate is easily drawn into a religous cult, the Tethon Collective, and within months has been persuaded to break all links with her mother Ella. Her mother, meanwhile, practical and determined, sets out to challenge the Collective and win her daughter back. As a solar eclipse approaches, it becomes clear that time is not on her side.
With Spence Kennedy's usual acute observational eye, some great characters, and a driving plot, this is a very enjoyable read. It begins with one of the best descriptions of the loneliness and uncertainty of starting out in adult life that I have read. Kate's early experiences of the cult and the way that they break down her initial resistance are fascinating. The ear has a fine ear for speech, including the convincing platitudes of the Collective, which gradually morph into the crazy ramblings of the leader. I could not put the book down as it reached the last quarter and the plot gradually neared its climax.
I have a few small quibbles - readers should beware of these but not be put off. There are occasional wobbles on the timeline: Kate has spent three years in the cult, but as the eclipse approaches it is still apparently only a year since she heard the initial talk that inducted her, Ella joined the ambulance service after Kate was born but although Kate is still only in her early twenties, Ella has managed to accumulate thirty years service. But as these small mistakes get ironed out, I have no doubt that Spence Kennedy has more great stories to tell.