The Drowning Pool
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The Drowning Pool

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  317 ratings  ·  57 reviews

After her world is shaken by a series of unexplained events, young widow Sarah Grey soon comes to realise that she is the victim of a terrifying haunting by her 19th century namesake … A classic ghost story with a modern twist by a talented new writer in the genre.

Relocated to a coastal town, widowed teacher Sarah Grey is slowly rebuilding her life, along with her young so

Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2011)
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This had been appearing in my Amazon recommendations for months and I kept ignoring it - mainly, I will admit, because of the horrible tacky cover, which made me think of some awful schlock-horror story, or one of those ultra-cheap ebooks that look like somone's knocked the whole thing together in an afternoon. I don't really know what made me decide to buy it: probably a combination of a) it being one of the top recommendations for readers who enjoyed Brodmaw Bay, b) the quote on said cover dee...more
I’ve just finished reading The Drowning Pool and want to post the review while it is still fresh in my mind.

I don’t want to give away the story itself in this review, instead I want to focus more on my opinions of the book. This is, essentially, a ghost story. Not my usual genre but a book that I really enjoyed nonetheless. In fact I would say that after reading it I think I’d be more inclined to pick up a ‘ghost story’ in the future.

I was initially drawn to it as it is based in Leigh on Sea in...more
Grace Harwood
I thought this book had a really strong start but somewhere along the line it lost its momentum and became something a bit more average. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it, but I certainly don't think it's anything amazing. First its strengths: What I really liked about this book was the way that it was firmly positioned in a local area. I'm not familiar with the area, but I think that if you were, it would be a real draw to this book to see your area so vividly rendered in the story. I ha...more
Mar 11, 2012 Donna rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Becky Church
Recommended to Donna by: Dan
Shelves: 2012, kindle-read
I would give this 4.5 if I could. It was recommended by a friend and I have really enjoyed it. It is a bit spooky, with a ghostly haunting, which the main character tries to get to the bottom of. She has the same name as an accused witch from over a hundred years before, and starts to be haunted by her. However, are the hauntings real, an overactive imagination or a symptom of an illness? And are the people around her on her side or do they have their own agendas?
I found myself second guessing a...more
I was eagerly anticipating reading this book. I was looking forward to a good ghost story, without the gore that usually comes with it. I expected to be scared, surprised, and engrossed in the read. But alas, it didn't happen. I waited and waited for a twist that never came, as everything was so plain to see : it felt like the author didn't seem to bother building up a bit of suspense, and the grand finale was such a lukewarm scene that I felt cheated. The supposedly scary stuff isn't anything n...more
Sprawled across the wall of my history classroom back in secondary school, in letters standing at least two inches high, was that famous George Santayana quote: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." This book has a similar message and puts it across even more strongly, perhaps in letters three inches tall that sparkle slightly in the sun.

Actually that may be oversimplifying things.

The Drowning Pool is the debut novel of Syd Moore. The slightly cringeworthy blurb on the...more
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
I saw this on the new arrivals shelves in my local supermarket and decided I would like to try someone new and the blurb at the back of the book looked interesting. This is a ghost story and a very good one it was. The story is centered around Sarah Gray, a young widow with a four year old son, who goes drinking with her friends and ends up at a ruined castle in their small town. Now, these are all grown women, but they do like to drink, indeed, there was so much binge drinking, you would wonder...more
L.K. Jay
I was looking forward to reading this as I really enjoyed Witch Hunt when that came out last year. I love a good ghost story and this story really fit the bill. It had everything, ghosts, adventure and teachers! Being a teacher myself, I could really connect with the main characters.

The story is set in Essex and concerns a young widow called Sarah who looks after her young son Alfie. She is being haunted by a woman of the same name, a notorious 'sea witch' who lived in early Victorian times. We...more
The only reason I haven't given this book a one-star rating is because the story itself is actually kind of interesting - inspired, even. It's also one of the few ghost story novels I've read that has good narrative pacing and a satisfying conclusion.

None of this, however, can make up for the terrible writing. It reads like a short story in Take a Break magazine. Short paragraphs, littered with clichés, but at the same time completely failing to create believable characters.

In fact, this was som...more
99p Kindle books are the new charity shop books, people. You heard it here first. Thankfully, this one was definitely worth the 99p. Written in a lively style, The Drowning Pool involves a genuinely scary ghost story, interesting history, and some refreshing feminist views and opinions. There's even a love story in there, and a story of lost love.

I was never bored while reading this book, and it even felt at some points as though there was just too much going on. On the day I downloaded this bo...more
when I first got this book (I won it as an ARC) I expected a really scary book, the cover and the blurb on the back led me to that conclusion. However I would describe it more of a historical romance with ghosts.

Theres the connection between the past and the modern day characters and all along you're not quite sure where its going to end or 'whodunnit' but it keeps you intrigued all the way through.

There was only one really scary bit and in hindsight it wasn't that scary but at the time I had to...more
A well-written serviceable mystery with a supernatural element that went overboard at the story's climax. I enjoyed Moore's character, Sarah's narrative voice and detailed characterization, and so, too, the story's mystery. This, however, didn't prevent me losing interest around the halfway mark. The reason for this was the lack of rising tension. While not a memorable read, The Drowning Pool is a good time-filler.
As this was hyped as a ghost story I thought I would give it a go - I got about halfway through it and it lost me. I started to find it quite boring so just gave up.

Back Cover Blurb:
Relocated to a coastal town with her young son Alfie, widowed teacher Sarah Grey is slowly rebuilding her life. But following a seance one drunken night, she begins to be plagued by horrific visions. Her attempts to explain them away are dashed when Alfie starts to see them too, and soon, it seems that they are targe...more
Mar 03, 2014 Lesley marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
*I won an advance copy via a Goodreads giveaway*

The Drowning Pool starts off as as a typical ghost story as the reader is introduced to the main character, Sarah Grey, a young widow who begins to experience some rather spooky things happening around her and her son Alfie. The first hundred pages or so feature some classic horror movie scenes that will have you running to put on the light if you're reading alone before going to bed! As the story progresses it becomes more of an intertwined histor...more
To be honest, I was rather disappointed with this book. Firstly, it was written, in my opinion, with too many female interests so this made some of the reading uninteresting from a bloke's perspective. There was also the absurd part about a shop-front mannequin (I'll not give any more than that away) that did not fit in with a ghost story. And being a bit pedantic here, but in Antwerp, northern Belgium, they speak Dutch, not French!

This is a debut novel and shows it but I think Syd Moore has pot...more

Thanks to the author as I was lucky enough to be sent a copy through the giveaways section on the site. This is the story of Sarah Grey who begins to see a ghost of someone of the same name and is known through local history and myth as a sea-witch. This is a mixture of genres: horror, thriller, historical fiction and a bit of romance as well.

I found this book genuinely creepy, there were a few moments when I actually jumped when I read them and there was a sense of tension throughout. A great r...more
I was given The Drowning Pool for Christmas, and had listed it on my Amazon wishlist quite a few months prior, just sorting through similar books within the genre and filtering what sounded good. I liked the sound of this book instantly and it didn't disappoint.

The story is well thought out, and I enjoyed the twists. I didn't feel the ending quite worked for me, which is why I am only giving it 4 stars, but overall it's an excellent piece for a first-time writer like Syd Moore. I will definitel...more
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It is a classic ghost story, my only gripe with it is that Sarah's dealings with her ghost lessened as the novel progressed and it became more of a crime novel than a scary ghost story.
That said, it was well written, and the characters Syd Moore created were interesting and had lots of depth to them.
This book is quite fast paced, and I never wanted to put it down while I was reading it.
I look forward to reading more from this author.
Had an itch to read a good horror book and this one helped scratch that itch a bit. While the plot is predictable, there are enough chills and thrills to make you read the next page. The narration is engaging and Sarah Grey is a more realistic heroine than some of the other books have read. A widow with a penchant for her 'red' does not wallow in grief and her attitude to 'fix' the haunting quickly is refreshing. All in all, a nice read. Hope Syd Moore's next book also delivers.
The Drowning Pool is part novelisation of a historical person, part ghost story, and there is an element of romance in there too, . Well written, and evidently well researched, although I found the theme of history repeating itself a little repetitive though, and increasingly implausable towards the end of the book. I enjoyed the putting together of the historical jigsaw, and the plot moves swiftly so that it does hold the readers' interest from beginning to end.
Georgina Bennett
The twist in this book, I never saw coming! Syd Moore concluded everything extremely well, and it was so clever how all of the little bits came together in the end. At first I did find it quite scary, and thought that the ghost of Sarah Grey was out to haunt and maybe harm the main character, but by the end I felt as though her story was just one tragedy after another, and it actually made me want to cry. I think this book is well worth a read!
This was a book I received as a Giveaway on Goodreads. I enjoyed the story. It was very well planned, although I found myself having to think very carefully about some of the characters and how they fit into the story.....that may have been partly to do with my reading it in instalments over about a week. I would recommend it to someone who likes a bit of tension and mystery in their reading .....try it and see what you think.
Sarah Grey, a young widow and mother, is haunted by the restless spirit of her namesake, Sarah Grey, a local woman condemned as a witch in the 1800s. However all is not as it seems... I raced through this novel in two days and really enjoyed it. It's occasionally a little 'over the top' and feels a bit clumsy at times (maybe as it's a debut novel?) but well worth a read if, like me, you love a creepy and intriguing ghost story.
Brian Cooke
A serviceable murder mystery with the added facet of a bit of historical detective work. The writing is ok if lacking any real poetic hook but the dialogue and characterization are vibrant. There is at least one glaring plot hole but in spite of the perspectives on the treatment of supposed inferiors in the 19th century this one doesn't merit much thought after the fact and seems unlikely to inspire a re-read in the future.
Sonia Dean
I really enjoyed this. I'd pretty much figured out the ending before I got there but it didn't detract from the story. The Guardian said it was ' a stunning reinvention of the ghost story', I wouldn't go that far but it passed a few hours very pleasurably. I really liked the way she interwove Essex history with fiction. I'll definitely give her next book a go when it comes out in the autumn.
Sidonie Ferguson
Pretty good book, starts a bit slowly really, but then once it gets into learning about the history of the 'ghost' past it becomes addictive, read last 100 pages in one go. I think a lot has been made of the 'spooky' side of things, its much more about love, the past and history repeating itself, as well as how families can repeat the same patterns without realising.
What a gorgeous cocktail, large splash of ghost story, a mix of past and present, throw in a costal town some local folkelore and a 19 century witch shake it up and you a get a truly wonderful read with a perfect blend of everything to keep you devouring until the end. Cant wait for her second novel Witch Hunt. Syd Moore is also great fun to follow on Twitter.
Simon Gosden
A clever and chilling ghost story set in Leigh in Essex. Sarah Grey, a recently widowed single mum, arrives in Leigh to find that she bears the same name at that of a notorious local witch. When she starts to have horrific visions she soon discovers some secrets need to be uncovered in ways that may be well be out of this world.
it started well & the concept was strong but it all got lost as it ambled along to the end. it was an OK read but nothing amazing & not a page turner unfortunately
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