Last week I read and reviewed Bate's A Sounding Brass. I comment that I didn't realize it is book 3 of a trilogy... the Elect Trilogy. Grounds to Believe is book 1. I don't normally like reading books out of order. Knowing what lies ahead seems to ruin the earlier books for me. That was not the case with this one. Bates' book link and flow, but they are not connected at the hip. They will stand alone. And though I knew a bit about what would happen in this one, to be honest I would have figure it out while reading. These books are not mysteries... you can see where they are going. It is the getting there that is intriguing. The Elect Trilogy deals with a toxic cultish church... and it does so in a respectful manner. The members aren't whackos like so often betrayed in movies and such. Yes, their beliefs are skewed and some of what they do is a tad bizarre (like dressing head to toe in black), but the people themselves are basically good folks who believe they are living the life God has called them to live. Bates does a good job showing how the leadership gets and holds control over their members. In Grounds, she shows an inside look (as it were) to the recruiting of a potential member. She also shows, in more than one character, how the pressures of this lifestyle can cause a fracture within persons. And she shows that not all who belong are truly convinced.... it just takes a bit of light to dispel the darkness.
Very, very good book. Both the ones I have read in this series are excellent and I am looking forward to reading book 2 - Pocketful of Pearls.