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Dark Water

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Friendship doesn't die, it waits...

A haunting and lyrical novel, Dark Water is a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession.

When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia, disappeared after a swimming incident. But what
Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published October 3rd 2016 by Nightingale Editions
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  114 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing

This is a debut novel? You have got to be kidding me right!

Like a lot of regular reviewers we read a lot of books, so when we get a debut novel we realize that is may not yet reach a standard of someone with more experience.

I am getting more and more debut novels that 'knock my socks off', 'really blow me away' because the talent is so experienced and so polished.
This book was such and all and more of the above.

As a reviewer I tend to study the book covers. I take the book at an entirety [right
Miriam Smith
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbc
Having just read a couple of heavy - full on books, "Dark Water" by Sara Bailey was a breath of fresh air, the idyllic island of Orkney was so refreshing to visit. I could almost hear the lapping of the waves on the sand. And since I adore all things Scottish this was a dream book for me. Sara does not come across as a debut author but as a seasoned writer with experience and I found the style of writing easy to follow with characters you instantly engaged with. I loved the way the story kept go ...more
Linda Strong
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
The reader cannot tell that this book is a debut novel, taking a look at a woman returning to her childhood home for one reason only - her father is in ill health.

Everywhere she turns, Helena relives her growing up years when Anastasia was her best loved friend. The early days were a delight ... they were always together, always finding some new mischief. But young girls grow up to be teenage girls.

Teenagers turn to boys, makeup, boys, clothes, dreaming of their future when a white knight will s
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
For a debut novel this is an excellent book, I am very impressed with this author's work. Helena returns to her home in Orkney to look after her father who is ill. Helena has not been home for many years and on her return many from her home town are interested to see how she has grown up, she would prefer to keep to herself. As children Helena and Anastasia were best friends. Sadly, Anastasia disappeared while they were out swimming and drowned, Helena was devastated by her friend's death. The s ...more
I have a few comments, but I will not be rating this book that I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Dark Water by Sara Bailey was extremely well written, the characters were fully fleshed and the atmosphere of the Orkney Islands makes you feel like you are right there. Flashbacks occur throughout the story, but are handled very well and never interrupt the flow of reading. This writer is very talented.

This book is not what I would normally read, which is why I am not r
Kate~Bibliophile Book Club
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dark Water is a debut. I feel I need to state that, because at no point during the course of my reading this book did it feel like a debut!!!Sara Bailey writes like an accomplished novelist, so I was quite taken aback to see that this is her first novel!

When I started reading Dark Water, I didn’t know what to expect. Once I got into the story though, I was completely caught up in it. It is a very intriguing novel, in that there appears to be more than one specific genre in it. It flicks between
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Friendship doesn't die, it waits...When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia, disappeared after a swimming incident. But what really happened that night by the wrecks?

I was fascinated by this book. It's quite a distance from my usual genre, but it certainly has an eerie psychological feeling to it. Helena returns to Orkney from her job in London to help look afte
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
Full review on

Let me start by saying that I’m delighted to be a stop on the blog tour for Dark Water today! From the moment I read the blurb and saw this strikingly beautiful cover, I just knew that I had to read this book. Though its categorized as women’s fiction, it is much more than that. There is bits of different genres as well, including suspense, psychological thriller and even a tiny bit of romance. Though it is dark at times, I could even see this as being appropria
Joanna Park
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Arriving back in Orkney to help her step mother Kate look after her sick father, Helena is soon drawn back into Island life and rediscovers some of the friendships and places that she knew in her youth. She soon discovers, however, that the Island is haunted by the memories of one friendship in particular- Anastasia who she was best friends with at school. The two of them shared everything together and where constantly together getting into all sorts of innocent teenage fun. As they grew older, ...more
S.E. Lynes
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

‘…I was a million pieces waiting to be pulled together by your tide.’

What a privilege it was to receive an advanced copy of Sara Bailey's Dark Water. Like a selkie through the cold North Sea, Bailey’s tale of a woman and her troubled past ploughs inexorably towards its dark conclusion. In Bailey’s lyrical prose, every line is shadowed by the ghostly presence of heroine Helena’s enigmatic best friend, Anastasia. This is a stor
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbc
Beautifully written with wonderfully vivid descriptions of Orkney, Sara Bailey has crafted a story with believable characters, keenly observed complicated relationships, obsessive friendships and a clever plot.

The story is compelling and the different timelines work perfectly to deliver an undercurrent of unease amidst the sometimes claustrophobic but beautiful backdrop where a terrible event in Helena's teens is brought back to the forefront of this tight knit community whens she returns to vis
Off the northernmost coast of Scotland lie the Orkney Islands. It is here that Helena Chambers returns to visit her aging father who is awaiting heart surgery. She hasn’t returned for over a decade, using the excuse that her PR job, and her hectic life in London preclude visits home.

The truth of the matter is that painful memories have kept her away. Youthful romances, a stepmother with whom she has never really warmed, and… the drowning death of her best friend, Anastasia.

Helena is very success
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dark Water

Although this book is a far cry from the genre I usually read, I really did enjoy it.

It was a sweet story of friendship, family, love and truth.
Facing up to your childhood demons.

Anastasia and Helena were inseparable friends, until one fateful day when things went very wrong.
Carol Peace
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-books
This is an amazing debut novel, Helena grew up on Orkney but left and made a life in London and she has never been back but knew she really had to when her father has a heart attack, it is as though she never left though when she does return and the story keeps returning to her teenage years when she was there before. There is an underlying question that something is not being said though and everyone seems to be avoiding the subject of her old friend Anastasia. I loved the way the characters we ...more
Sam (Clues and Reviews)
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
For all my reviews, check out Clues and Reviews

Helena returns to her childhood home to help care for her ailing father. Once she arrives, she is forced to reconnect with people and face memories that she has spent a lifetime forgetting. After a tragic accident, ending with the loss of her best friend (Anastasia), Helena has spent her entire life dealing with the repercussions. No one really knows what happened that night at sea…. the only thing that was for
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
This first novel by Sara Bailey is well wrought, beautifully sited and peopled with a cast of believable characters, most of whom I would have liked to have gotvto know in a pub by a crackling fire.

Helena returns to the remote Orkney Islands to visit her father who is seriously ill. On her return she interfaces with the past and lives again her intense relationship with the aptly named Anastasia.

The atmosphere of this book is seductive, and dangerous likevthe Dark Water of the title. I couldn't
Sambath Meas
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Symbols and Hidden Meanings in “Dark Water: A psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession” by Sara Bailey

‘You’ll never learn will you? Way out of your league, always was,’ said Dylan (a childhood boyfriend of Helena) to Phil (a former schoolmate to whom Helena begrudgingly lost her virginity). A reader is reminded six times that Helena, the protagonist of “Dark Water” by Sara Bailey, is way out of everyone’s league in Orkney, one of the islands in the Northern Isles of
Elizabeth Mathis
Friendship doesn't die, it waits...

A haunting and lyrical novel, Dark Water is a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession.

When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Her best friend, the charismatic Anastasia, disappeared after a swimming incident. But what really happened that night by the wrecks?

Rating: 4.5/5 Penguins
Quick Reasons: that ending changed literally everything!; unr
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
When you read as much as I do, you develop a bit of an instinct for books you just know are going to be something rather special. I was excited about Dark Water by Sara Bailey from the moment I first read about it – who could resist “a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession”? A new and exciting publisher in Nightingale Books and – although I’m not really at all a cover girl – the cover of this book with its colours, wild sea and shadowy figure in the foreground wou ...more
Dee-Cee  It's all about the books
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 read
Diane Chandler
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a great read which I devoured in three sittings. Set in the magnificent setting of Orkney, Dark Water tells the story of a young woman who has come home to visit her sick father after an absence of many years. The moment Helena steps off the tiny plane we are told that news of her arrival will have zipped across the mainland. From then on, we are ourselves cast headlong into the small-scale life on Orkney, embroiled in the gossip and in the scrutiny Helena receives from neighbours and to ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sara Bailey’s debut novel, Dark Water tells an exceptional and intriguing story set in beautiful, mysterious Orkney. I was drawn to the book as I have, myself, recently moved to Orkney and love reading fiction set in the islands. I did not know what to expect but was quickly drawn into the powerful story being told. The author describes the eerie ship-wrecks in such a way that you can visualize them – or maybe that’s just because I have seen them so many times. Beautiful as they sound I would no ...more
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Can you ever go back? Helena returns to Orkney where she grew up. Her father has had a heart attack and that has made her return after many years. Her return also coincides with a school reunion- something she decides she does not want to attend.

Almost as soon as she arrives she is haunted by the sight of a young girl who seems to crop up wherever she goes and her thoughts constantly return to thought of Anastasia- her best friend through her teenage years. We are left guessing as to what exact
Lauren Watkins'x
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers copy of this book via #TBConFB.

Whilst I appreciate that this book is the authors first, I felt somewhat underwhelmed by it. I just felt it was lacking something but I can't quite put my finger on it! I kept finding myself drifting and focusing my attention elsewhere rather than the book.

The book is set on the Orkney Islands and focuses around love, friendship and loss. What I liked about this book was how it all ended - like WOW! What an ending!

I awar
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A hauntingly, eerie tale of an obsessive friendship set in the beautiful Orkney islands. Helena returns after many years to see her father who is ill and from the outset it is clear that she has unhappy memories that she is struggling to deal with. The story of Helena and her best friend, Anastasia, unfurls slowly in an extremely well-written, debut novel. Sara has a way with words and the description of Orkney makes you feel that you are actually there. I was gripped throughout.
My thanks to TB
Sue Wallace
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dark Water by Sara Bailey is a psychological read.
A haunting and lyrical novel, 'Dark Water' is a psychologically intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession, set in the beautiful Orkney Islands.
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.
Very good read with good characters. This was one I couldn't put down. Helena was my favourite character. Recommended.
Philippa Mckenna
Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: tbc-widget
There's no denying this is a beautifully written book. Set on Orkney, the environment is beautifully explained, and this created such an intense atmosphere, I now want to whisk myself away to explore this place and its wrecks that lurk beneath the surface of the sea. The story, however, never quite gripped me in the way I'd hoped it would, and its pace was just too slow for my liking. Having said that, I did love Sara Bailey's style and I'm hoping there's more to come.
Sue Clement
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully and sensitively written book about the memories of one young girls teenage years steeped with dark secrets and regrets. Following the story of Hell who looses those closest too her set on a beautiful Scottish island. A must read for young and old.
Joseph - Relax And Read Reviews
Actual rating 4.5*

Right off I want to say that even though this story is shrouded by mystery, it is not a fast-paced, suspenseful thriller, so if you're after that sort of heart-pumping book, this is not for you. This is a rather atmospheric tale with tragedy at its centre.

After more than a decade, Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney islands to see her father through an operation and help out her stepmother. She had been reluctant to return to this place which harbours so many unwant
Between The Pages Book Club (Gemma M)
Firstly, I would like to thank Jacqui and the publishers for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour and for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Dark Waters is a debut novel by Sara Bailey BUT trust me you would not be able to tell it was her first novel! It is brilliantly written, easy to read and fast paced. I loved the setting of the story (Orkney), it seems perfect and I would love to go there myself from what was described of Orkney within the book. I really ...more
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Sara Bailey is writer and lecturer for UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands). Her first book was published by Bloomsbury in 2013 'Writing the Horror Movie' which was co-authored with Marc Blake.
She has recently returned to the Orkney Islands, after 37 years. Her first novel, 'Dark Water', is set in Orkney.

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