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It’s the stuff of nightmares – or mine, at least. A bullying ex-boyfriend, a totalitarian religious sect, and a remote abbey that’s more like a concentration camp than a haven. The chills are coming quick and fast.

Add an abusive, albeit charismatic, cult leader and a team of violent wardens, who enforce the leader’s rules with brutal efficiency, and Jo Fenton’s psychological thriller The Brotherhood is one hundred per cent a rollercoaster.

At first, Melissa, who falls back on her faith after the sudden death of her parents, is captivated by Dominic, a minister, who’s supporting her through her bereavement.

When he invites her to join The Brotherhood, the religious community he runs, Melissa welcomes the opportunity to leave her old life behind.

But life in The Brotherhood, which Dominic had described as a ‘delightful place – a refuge,’ is not as safe as it first appeared and before long Melissa’s haven becomes a prison.

Sucked in

And with the arrival of newcomer Mark, her feelings towards Dominic begin to change, and then she discovers she’s pregnant…

I’ve always wondered how and why otherwise intelligent men and women find themselves sucked in by the false promises offered by cult leaders such as Dominic.

But Fenton, who works in clinical research, paints a very plausible picture of the way grief and fear and loneliness can gnaw away at the inner strength of an individual. And Dominic’s deft manipulation of Melissa’s weakness is horribly calculating.


Presumably, too, given Fenton’s experience, the vicious mixture of carrot and stick with which he maintains dominance of his disciples is also realistic.

This was an interesting, sometimes disturbing, exploration of life within a cult that – WARNING – includes some scenes of rape and violence which, whilst not overly graphic, some readers may find upsetting.

And will Melissa escape the clutches of The Brotherhood and find happiness outside the cult with Mark and her baby? I couldn’t possibly tell you!

Review by Sue Featherstone.

Available to buy on Amazon.

About the author:

Jo Fenton, who grew up in Hertfordshire, devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy.

She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”.

At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.

Jo combines an exciting career in clinical research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.

When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people.

She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.

Follow Jo on Twitter, Facebook and the web.


Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for running this giveaway to win 3 x e-copies of The Brotherhood and its sequel The Refuge.Note: This giveaway is open internationally.

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