When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney to care for her father after a heart attack, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from.
Still haunted by the disappearance of her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia – who vanished during a daredevil swimming incident – Helena must navigate her way though the prisms of memory and encounter not only her ghosts but also her first love, Dylan, the only one who can help her unravel the past and find her way back to the truth of what really happened that night.
Publication Date ~ 3rd October 2016
Published by ~ Nightingale Editions
Genre ~ Literary Fiction, Coming-of-Age, Psychological Thriller
Kindle Edition ~ Amazon
My thoughts: To start off with I just love the book cover for Dark Water, it’s peaceful yet disturbing. I know they always say never judge a book by it’s cover but I can’t help myself and if I walked into a shop and saw this I would automatically pick it up.
Dark Water is set in Orkney and I loved the descriptiveness throughout the book, the setting you get a real feel for and it really gives you a sense of Orkney living, a small community where everyone knows everyone. I could smell the sea air as I was reading and just fell totally into the story.
Helena has returned to Orkney after living in London for over 10 years and as Helena readjusts she is haunted by memories of her childhood and her best friend Anastasia. I loved how we were taken back in time through Helena’s memories, meeting Anastasia and seeing how things were for Helena in her teenage years and slowly finding out how she became so haunted by Anastasias disappearance.
This is not just a coming of age story, it’s a story about friendship, sadness, tragedy, love and family. The characters are all very believable and really draw you in so you feel connected to them and can relate to some of the teenage memories, like the feeling you had when your best friend had a boyfriend, the little bit of jealousy, that feeling that the boy was taking your friend away.
I didn’t actually see the full genre of this book until after I read it and just saw the coming of age description but as I was reading I felt a real angst, an anxiety that I just couldn’t put my finger on but then it hut me and I was totally blown away.
This really is a cracking atmospheric story that made me sad, happy and also gave me shivers. It’s so cleverly written and really pulled me into the story, making me feel haunted like Helena. I had goose bumps reading it.
This is Sara Baileys debut novel and it’s just marvellous. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I’m really looking forward to reading more from this fabulous author. This being a debut I’m really excited to see what Sara Bailey has up here sleeve next
My Rating 5/5
I’d like to say thanks to Nightingale Editions for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
About the author ~
Dr Sara Bailey left Orkney to go to London aged 16. After working in a variety of different jobs from mortuary attendant to stage manager on Les Miserables, she studied part time and went on to University. She has an MA in Women’s History, an MA in Creative Writing as well as a PhD in Critical and Creative Writing.
Her first book was published by Bloomsbury in 2013, Writing the Horror Movie, which she co-authored whilst hiding behind a cushion.
She has recently returned to Orkney and married an Orcadian. Dark Water is her first novel and heavily inspired by the islands she has returned to. She is now a lecturer for UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands).