Book Review – The Follower by Koethi Zan

First published, 2017

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The story follows Julie, a young woman who seems to have it all – a nice family, loving boyfriend, health, youth and beauty. But of course, that’s before she’s abducted.

As the story progresses, we get to know her captors – the fearsome and philosophical James and his downtrodden lady-servant, Cora – as well as the disgraced former police officer who’s trying to find them all. But has the police officer got the wrong end of the stick? And what happens to a cult leader when all of his followers desert him, anyway?

The writing is beautiful. There’s a moment, early on, where Cora takes a big risk and reads some of Julie’s emails…

“Cora forced herself to breathe more slowly. The emails terrified her, but she couldn’t stop reading them, one after the other. So many people cared so much about that girl. People loved her in ALL CAPS. No one had ever loved Cora like that.”
page 38, Chapter Seven, The Follower by Koethi Zan

Just heartbreaking.

There’s a scene in Orange Is The New Black where we see something of Silent Norma’s background: her faux husband, deserted by all his other common law wives, clearly manipulates Norma and, by the time she sees it, her response is sudden and explosive. In The Follower, Cora is a very different kettle of fish. Her desire to move beyond her past, to rewrite it and start again, even if it means doing so in a way that would never have crossed her mind before is pretty devastating.

Although I enjoyed the writing, the story was pretty fraught in places. My heart broke repeatedly for most of the characters. I won’t go into too much detail, no need to spoil it for you, but there are some great characters here. And I was surprised by how intensely infuriated I became with Adam.

A clever story with some difficult subject matter, but a great and unexpected ending.