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Rowan's Well

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Who is your best friend? What wouldn't you do for them? Lie? Betray? Or worse...? When Will Cooper meets strange, tormented Mark Strachan at university he soon has cause to be thankful as they are caught up in a fatal accident. And when they marry sisters Olivia and Eloise Brooke, their fates are tied. But Will could never have imagined how strong Mark's influence will bec ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published September 4th 2013 by (first published July 29th 2013)
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Cleo Bannister
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Mark Stracham a man who we first meet while he is at University and he meets the young man who is to become his best friend, Will Cooper. The reader will soon discern that Mark is not a nice guy but in the claustrophobic relationships that the boys have, Will doesn’t see it. The stories of university life in the 80s certainly felt authentic as did the night of the Ouija board which was a huge talking point during this era. While at university the boys meet twins Elouise and ...more
Harold Pennington
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I took a punt on buying this and was rewarded in spades - this is a great read!

The story features Mark Strachan - psychologically scarred by his emotionally traumatic childhood. Mark meets Will Cooper at university and they strike up a close, almost claustrophobic, friendship. They soon meet their future wives, who happen to be twin sisters and the story unfolds from there. As things develop, the grey areas between family loyalty, love, and abject hate are exposed. Strachan's overpowering, somet
Babus Ahmed
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about Mark Strachan, whose life is mapped through the chapters leading to one very significant day. Mark and William meet at university, a number of adverse situations, in which Mark seems complicit casts a shadow over his true character, until the day his actions change everything, not just for Mark but for William as well as the sisters they married.

I found this novel initially slow to get into but the more I read about Mark and his interaction with others, the more drawn and inv
Kath Middleton
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a story about friendship, love, upbringing, loyalty and so much more. We follow two young men, Matt and Will, from their first meeting at university, through their marriages to twin sisters, and beyond. The tale that unfolds is at times heart-breaking but never boring. The writing is beautiful and the story totally gripping. I stayed up far beyond my bedtime to finish this. It’s that kind of book and I heartily recommend it.
Segnalibro Blog
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
(Originally posted on on 19th January 2016)

Before Christmas, I was introduced to a lovely lady who is from my local area and she gifted me her book to read and review. It has been sat on my Kindle waiting patiently to be read (as well as the many others on my TBR list). I finally managed to get cracking, not least because our mutual friend Nichola implored me to get a move on because she had recently finished and needed to talk about it! So I did. The first word that sprung
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Maybe this is not typical Christmas time reading fare but it is truly a book not be missed.

The really disturbing feature of C.J. Harter's "Rowan's Well" is its inevitable countdown to an incident that is so tragic that it ranks alongside ancient mythology as a tale of the strangest retribution, chaos and insanity

Without publishing spoilers here there is an indication within the book's first few lines that Mark Strachan's life has not been one of sweetness and light despite having a close friend
Susan White
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a gripping read. I was hooked in the first chapter. A dark compelling book that touches on the darkest side of a person's psyche. Some of the content is uncomfortable and very upsetting, but C. J. Harter has made an excellent attempt to look deep into a profoundly damaged mind. Vivid descriptions, realistic relationships, dialogue that is so natural, and a storyline that pulls you in. Really enjoyed it and looking forward to more work by this author
B.R. Maycock
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
So to begin we’re not actually beginning at the beginning, but sometime closer to the end of the story, it is ten years after, although what the after is we don’t know. Mark Strachan is telling a story while ‘looking out of the window at the upper floors of the high-security wing opposite’ about an event when he was young to someone whose part in this story we don’t know. His story is vivid and packs a punch almost straight away-I could tell this character had issues and was very likely to be te ...more
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Is Mark Strachan a guy who's had a tough hand dealt in life? Or a sociopath?

"Rowan's Well" follows the story of Mark and Will from when they become roommates in college to when Mark commits a shocking, unforgivable crime, and everyone has to pick up the pieces afterwards. It's a thriller-cum-family-drama, with flashbacks to Mark's childhood in between the story of college-age and adult Mark, Will, and the sisters they marry.

The flashback structure works well to heighten the tension and underline
Sarah Northwood
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a story of friendship and family and the pull between the two. I really enjoyed the narrative of this Author and found the characters not only well rounded but believable and in many ways relatable. Mark and Will, thrown together at University, become friends quickly, a friendship that lasts a lifetime. The Author gives, Mark, who has sociopathic tendencies, shaped by his childhood, a personality that is chilling but also understandable. The book is a slow suspenseful build to the climax ...more
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book tells a quietly suspenseful story of a friendship that grows into family, a tale spanning from university years to parenthood. One character challenges this happy narrative time and again: Mark.

The author offers compelling insight of the sociopathic mind with the character Mark. Unlike other media depictions of sociopaths as strategic villains, the author carefully crafts Mark as a man whose lack of empathy plays out in dark, very possible, ways.

William, his best friend, doesn't seem
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark - his life, from difficult childhood to uneasy adulthood. Do the events from his youth reflect the way he behaves as an adult? why does he have such difficulty making friends although William whom he meets at University manages to remain his friend throughout it all.
Well written and thought provoking in places but doesn't really answer the questions leaving you to decide for yourself
ChillwithabookAWARD With
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rowan's Well by C J Harter has received a Chill with a Book Readers' Award.

"A really really excellent book I thoroughly enjoyed it."

"A great story."

"Well written showing how problems in childhood can escalate into adulthood."

Pauline Barclay
Founder of Chill with a Book Awards
Michelle Angharad
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
What's more important, the friend you met at university or your family?

How deep can a trauma be buried and what happens when it finally breaks through?

What damage can this long hidden trauma do to your mind, your friends, your family and your life?

Want to know?
Read the book, you won't regret it. Highly recommended.
Janice Kujawa
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing Book Amazing Author

No spoilers here. Definitely worth reading yourself. Amazing plot, completely believable characters. Will definitely recommend to family friends and fellow readers.
Marion Campbell
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read that delves into the friendship of two young men starting university and follows through to their midlife. One male has had a lonely childhood and the other comes from a large, loving family, which brings them more differences than the reader might consider. And one wonders if this friendship becomes the most important relationship in their lives to their detriment through marriage and life crisis.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Great Book!

I loved this book. It was so full of emotion and sorrow. I felt the pain of the characters. The story was moving and sad. I am glad to have read this book. It is different in a good way!
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kept me up!

Love this book! It is a dark and psychological look into the lifelong effects of being unloved and nutured as a child.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book is so good it keeps you enthralled from beginning to end. I just could not wait to finish it
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Mental Health Fic...: Is all fiction mental health fiction? 9 42 Jan 20, 2015 04:01PM  
CJ Harter loves “What if…” and “Let’s pretend…”. Let’s pretend I live on a wild coast overlooking the North Sea... What if that guy walks to the end of this jetty and…
When she’s not in her world of make-believe, CJ works with volunteers to deliver poetry reading and discussion sessions in care homes for older people. Previously she’s been a community worker with deaf people, run befriending servic
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