We are proud to announce that BookBrowse has won Platinum in the 2024 Modern Library Awards.

Reviews of Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford

Follow Me to Ground

by Sue Rainsford

Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford X
Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2020, 208 pages

    Paperback:
    Jan 2021, 208 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Dean Muscat
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A haunted, surreal debut novel about an otherworldly young woman, her father, and her lover that culminates in a shocking moment of betrayal - one that upends our understanding of power, predation, and agency.

Ada and her father, touched by the power to heal illness, live on the edge of a village where they help sick locals—or "Cures"—by cracking open their damaged bodies or temporarily burying them in the reviving, dangerous Ground nearby. Ada, a being both more and less than human, is mostly uninterested in the Cures, until she meets a man named Samson. When they strike up an affair, to the displeasure of her father and Samson's widowed, pregnant sister, Ada is torn between her old way of life and new possibilities with her lover—and eventually comes to a decision that will forever change Samson, the town, and the Ground itself.

Follow Me to Ground is fascinating and frightening, urgent and propulsive. In Ada, award-winning author Sue Rainsford has created an utterly bewitching heroine, one who challenges conventional ideas of womanhood and the secrets of the body. Slim but authoritative, Follow Me to Ground lingers long after its final page, pulling the reader into a dream between fairy tale and nightmare, desire and delusion, folktale and warning.

Henry Law

It was easy to forget they're not like us.

You could be looking at Miss Ada and talking to her simply, and then she'd say something like

Take into account the evenings are getting long, Mr. Law.

Her father too. We'd be talking easily enough and then all of a sudden I'd remember he knew my pop and all my uncles from the day they were born till the day they died.

I suppose it was easy to forget because they made it easy. They had to, to get by.

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!
  1. In the beginning of Follow Me to Ground, Rainsford sets out the rules of this magical universe: Cures, the Ground, the process of healing the townspeople. How do you understand the dimensions of Ada and her father's work?
  2. The novel is interspersed with chapters from the point of view of the townspeople. What purpose do these passages serve?
  3. How does Ada's relationship with Samson begin?
  4. When Olivia comes in to be cured, does she reveal anything to Ada?
  5. How did Ada come to be? She believes that she "hadn't gone quite to plan" (page 56). What does this mean?
  6. Ada's father believes that it's Samson's "sickness that makes [him] want [her]" (page 81). What do you think Samson's "sickness" is?
  7. How does Ada come to a decision about her ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

At its core, Follow Me To Ground is a story about a daughter on the cusp of womanhood carving a life for herself away from her well-meaning if overbearing father. This could have so easily been just another fantastically-tinged tale of a girl seeking and attaining her own agency. Thankfully, it's much stranger than that, and all the more powerful for it— a haunting, intoxicating debut that establishes its author as one to watch in the future...continued

Full Review (680 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Dean Muscat).

Media Reviews

BookPage
Sue Rainsford’s fresh and exciting first novel, Follow Me to Ground, reads like a dark fairy tale...a pleasure to read. Seeing the world from Ada’s perspective is intoxicating, and as she grows in her power, we feel lucky to be taken along for the ride. With language that’s visceral and jarringly beautiful, Rainsford has created a mysterious world that left me wanting to hear more tales of the strange healers and their trusting Cures.

Shelf Awareness
In this serenely haunting tale, told in prose at once lyrical and unsettling, a lonely inhuman girl running a magical curing business with her father searches for a way to come alive...Visceral in its descriptions and carried by a spellbinding first-person narrative intertwined with lore from fearful Cures, this unworldly story is a well-crafted and eerie exploration of desire... beautifully intoxicating.

New York Times
Ada is a kind of golem, created by her father out of a tree branch, and her childlike voice tends toward quick, superficial narration. But when the book slips into horror at the end, it becomes legitimately frightening...if a story is to be this fast-paced, it ought to be more explicit about its intentions; all the subconscious, blink-and-you’ll-miss-them allegories give the feel of a maddening puzzle...the book itself seems buried in the ground.

The Guardian (UK)
Like all the best horror, it's an impressive balancing act between judicious withholding and unnerving reveals: you don't want to go into it knowing too much...Always singularly and entirely itself.

The Sunday Times (UK)
Beautiful and terrifying.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
An astonishing debut heralding the career of an exciting new writer. Strange, lyrical, and arresting, this novel will draw readers into its extraordinary spell.

Library Journal (starred review)
In this exhilaratingly original work, lyrical prose gives voice to the strange and alluring Ada, whose spellbinding account alternates with the Cures’ testimonials. Seductive and finally horrific; highly recommended.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Brimming with dark folklore and underworld energy...This is a subtle, unsettling novel in which desire is an ineradicable sickness that can be preferable to health.

Booklist
Haunting ... With an evocative novel bending fantasy into a universe of subtle horror and bodies cracking open to be healed, Rainsford pulls the reader into a frightening, tangible world of monstrosity, humanity, and healing.

Author Blurb Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise and Almost Famous Women
Sue Rainsford has written a gorgeous and unsettling novel. Follow Me To Ground is a fresh and primal exploration of bodies and healing, of the fight between one's calling and most ardent desires. A stunningly original debut.

Author Blurb Téa Obreht, author of The Tiger's Wife and Inland
Sue Rainsford's Follow Me to Ground is a triumph of imagination and myth-bending—a weird, tender, haunted and deeply affecting spectacle, equal parts beauty and horror, and unlike anything you will read this year.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Mythical Healers

World Health Organization logo with staff and snakeThe central characters in Follow Me to Ground are two human-like beings with mystical powers to heal all illnesses and even resurrect the dead. It seems we have forever been fascinated by the magic of healing and the ability to cheat our own mortality. Ancient mythologies from across the globe featured powerful healers that humans turned to in search of cures and remedies for all kinds of sicknesses.

One of the most widespread symbols of the medical world today is derived from the Greek myth of Asclepius, the god of medicine who brandished a serpent-draped staff—the image of which can be seen in medical and pharmaceutical logos across the globe, including that of the World Health Organization. As a child, Asclepius was rescued by ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Follow Me to Ground, try these:

  • I'm the Girl jacket

    I'm the Girl

    by Courtney Summers

    Published 2024

    About this book

    More by this author

    The next searing and groundbreaking queer young adult novel from New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Courtney Summers.

  • Unlikely Animals jacket

    Unlikely Animals

    by Annie Hartnett

    Published 2023

    About this book

    More by this author

    A lost young woman returns to small-town New Hampshire under the strangest of circumstances in this one-of-a-kind novel of life, death, and whatever comes after from the acclaimed author of Rabbit Cake.

We have 8 read-alikes for Follow Me to Ground, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Ascent
    The Ascent
    by Adam Plantinga
    Adam Plantinga's brilliant debut novel, The Ascent, introduces readers to former Detroit police ...
  • Book Jacket: The Curse of Pietro Houdini
    The Curse of Pietro Houdini
    by Derek B. Miller
    Derek B. Miller's sixth novel, The Curse of Pietro Houdini, opens in the town of Cassino, Italy, in ...
  • Book Jacket: Our Moon
    Our Moon
    by Rebecca Boyle
    In Our Moon: How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us ...
  • Book Jacket: Neighbors and Other Stories
    Neighbors and Other Stories
    by Diane Oliver
    The history of American segregation, along with changes to it in the 1960s, is sometimes taught and ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Mockingbird Summer
by Lynda Rutledge
A powerful and emotional coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s by the bestselling author of West with Giraffes.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Strong Passions
    by Barbara Weisberg

    Shocking revelations of a wife's adultery in 19th New York explode in an incendiary trial exposing the upper-crust and its secrets.

  • Book Jacket

    Leaving
    by Roxana Robinson

    An engrossing exploration of the vows we make to one another and what we owe to others and ourselves.

Win This Book
Win The Cleaner

The Cleaner
by Brandi Wells

Rarely has cubicle culture been depicted in such griminess or with such glee."
PW (starred review)

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.