Casey Ellis enjoys her life, working with her good friend Jessie, and enjoying the home she scrimped and saved to buy for herself and beloved cat, Andrew. Yet, she still feels something is missing in her life. When she meets Lydia Steele at a Christian bookstore, the two become fast friends and Lydia encourages her to attend a service of the group known as the Bodylife. The Gathering of the Bodylife is a group of people who seem to lead fulfilling Christian lives of friendship and fellowship in Christ. With Lydia by her side, Casey attends a meeting. She believes she has finally found her place in the world in the Gatherings of song and messages preached by the founder and leader, Webster Forsythe. Soon Casey begins dressing in the Bodylife smock “uniform”, and traveling many miles to attend Gatherings and other Bodylife functions. Jessie and her husband Claude are concerned, but Casey refuses to listen to any criticism of the group. Jessie prays for a change of heart in Casey. Soon, however, Casey is encouraged to sell her home, quit her job and move to the large home known as the Sister House with other Bodylife women. Webster hires her to work for the Bodylife, typing his speeches and other material for the followers. A handsome man, Darren, catches her eye on her first Visiting Night, evenings set aside for men and women of the Bodylife to meet and talk.
Casey and Darren are hitting it off when Lydia, who also lives in the Sister House, pulls Casey aside and warns her not to be talking with Darren. He’s marrying Carol, another woman living at the Sister House. Days later, when Casey happens to run into Darren, he tells her that he knows nothing about a marriage to Carol or anyone else. Casey’s discomfort with the Bodylife increases when she learns people have no choice in who they marry; rather the Bodylife determines that and also sets the wedding date and the wedding of Carol and Darren is to be held within days. Casey begins to vocalize the problems she sees with the Bodylife. This causes the leaders to take drastic action, and Casey to do the same by enlisting Jessie and Claude in her daring escape from the Sister House where she is held captive.The Gathering Place, by Becca Anderson, is a novel which should make the reader realize how quickly a person can become immersed in the world of cults, religious or otherwise.