Lay Your Body Down

Amy Suiter Clarke

Lay Your Body Down
Format
Paperback
Publisher
Text Publishing
Country
Australia
Published
27 June 2023
Pages
272
ISBN
9781922790460

Lay Your Body Down

Amy Suiter Clarke

Pastor Rick tells us women are created to serve, to be pure, to submit, to be a delight to their husbands. Who are we to deny the very nature our Creator has built within us?

When Del Walker fled her small hometown and its cult-like church six years ago, she vowed never to go back. Lars, the love of her life, was about to marry local golden girl Eve, author of a popular blog about the church's 'Noble Wife' teachings.

But now Lars is dead, and Del is convinced it couldn't have been an accident.

When she returns for the funeral, she discovers the church-and the insidious, patriarchal teachings of Pastor Rick Franklin - has taken over the town. And Eve isn't acting much like a grieving widow.

Del is determined to cut through the church's lies and corruption to find out what really happened to Lars - even if it means confronting memories she's spent years trying to bury.

Review

Lay Your Body Down is a powerful and alluring novel about mob mentality, indoctrination, and confronting one’s demons.

Delilah vowed never to return to her hometown in Minnesota and its cult-like church, but when her ex-boyfriend, Lars, dies, Del follows her gut instinct to go home. At Lars’s funeral, Del begins to believe that his death was more sinister than she thought. To bring the truth to light, she must face Pastor Rick, the church’s enigmatic priest, whose influence and power have grown internationally through the help of Eve, Lars’s wife. Eve is the author of the blog for the ‘Noble Wife’ movement, which espouses Pastor Rick’s conservative and fundamentalist philosophy on women’s roles and on marriage.

As the writer, linguist, and podcast host Amanda Montell wrote in her 2021 book, Cultish, ‘... unlike the cults of the ’70s, we don’t even have to leave the house for a charismatic figure to take hold of us. With contemporary cults, the barrier to entry is the simple frisson of tapping Follow.’ Amid the misogyny that much of Eve’s blog comprised and promoted, there were sensible moments that expressed the desire to be loved and cared for. These moments are what makes cults so terrifying because, as Montell discusses in her book, language cannot brainwash you, but it can make you believe in something that you already, on some level, may think you want to believe, and it can send you down a rabbit hole into extremism from there.

On an important note, I do love that in Lay Your Body Down Del hasn’t lost her faith in God, despite her experience in a cult. Amy Suiter Clarke is not malicious against Christianity, but rather brings attention to how the manipulation of faith can lead to the villainisation of, and violence against, women. This novel is a gripping and nuanced examination of how there is no intrinsic evil in religion itself, the danger lies in how religion can be abused and weaponised to exert power over others.

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