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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Emotional, powerful, unforgettable. From a stunning new literary talent, you won't be able to put down this novel about a mother's love for her children - it will break your heart. Ava and her two young sons, Max and Teddy, are driving to their new home in Sheerwater, hopeful of making a fresh start in a new town, although Ava can't help but keep looking over her shoulder. ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 20th 2020 by HarperCollins - AU
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
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Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a heart-rending novel that begs to be read in one sitting. Two little boys, Max and Teddy, are ripped apart from their mother and my heart was in my mouth for the whole book with the suspense of wishing them reunited safe and sound.

The boys mother, Ava, has decided she can no longer take the abusive marriage she has found herself in and plans an early morning escape with the boys to a fresh start in Sheerwater, a small town on the southern Victorian coast. On the way there they witness
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sheerwater is the first adult novel by Australian author, Leah Swann. Later, Ava so wishes she had driven on and dialled 000, but at the time, she felt she had to stop. She was on her way to freedom from Laurence, to perhaps a better career and, most importantly, to safety for her boys and herself. But the light plane had crashed, right there in front of her, and she had to check for survivors, help if she could. Max and Teddy would stay in the car, she was certain. Lives were saved, but by then ...more
Gloria Arthur
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-bookshelf
Sheerwater is an emotional read and a mothers worse nightmare.

I have mixed emotions about this book as it started off as suspenseful and mysterious and then it appeared to drift in the direction of delving more into the characters emotional feelings. It was a deep look at how the human psyche works when things go bad.

The theme was domestic violence and it was set over a three-day period of extreme emotional turmoil. The story was more about fear and relationships more than anything else and how
Before you pick up this book, make sure you understand the meaning of: beautifully written, propulsive, tense, gut-wrenching and unputdownable in the blurb. Especially the gut-wrenching bit. Or shall I say gut-punching? Because after finishing it this morning, I still feel strangely winded and hollow.

Let me also make it clear that you should not make the same mistake I made, and pick this up thinking it is mainly a mystery. I was somewhat puzzled when the mystery component was pretty much
Jennifer (JC-S)
Ava felt the sea move in her blood before she saw it.

Ava is fleeing an abusive marriage. With her sons Max and Teddy, shes driving to a town on the coast of Victoria, hoping to make a fresh start. They are almost to Sheerwater when they witness a light plane crashing into a field next to the road. Ava is the first person on the scene and stops to help. She tells the boys to stay in the car. Minutes later, after pulling the pilot from the plane and after others have arrived on the scene, she
Ava is driving with her two sons to her new home in Sheerwater (a fictional coastal town supposedly in the Great Ocean Road area), having just left her husband, when a plane crashes [literally] in front of her. Feeling duty bound, she goes to help the plane passengers, leaving her sons with strict instructions to stay in the car. When she returns, however, they are gone.

The story unfolds from the point of view of several characters including (obviously) Ava, Avas husband Laurence, Avas son Max,
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
When a light plane crashes by the side of Victorias Great Ocean Road, Ava, a former emergency rescue worker, feels compelled to stop and render assistance. Leaving her two young sons, Max and Teddy, safely locked in the car with strict instructions to remain, she and and another passerby bravely pull the pilot and two frightened children from the wreckage moments before it explodes. When emergency services arrives Ava makes her way back to the car only to find it empty.

Alternating primarily
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 5-stars, arc
The sense of foreboding, the urgency, the desperation and fear that pulses through this book is extraordinary. I was terrified of Laurence the maniacal, evilness of him. His cruel force lurks on every page. And so brilliantly layered over the top of that is this bleak, unavoidable sadness it was heartbreaking from the first page. I devoured it in a single sitting (I completely forgot about lunch!), just racing through the pages. I knew I was hurtling towards tragedy, but I could not stop!

Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is an inevitability to Sheerwater that grips the reader like little else out there. There is symbolism, pace, voice, and style in spades here and this is not an easy book to put down. This is a work of pure talent and you are going to HAVE to read it. Trust me.
Theresa Smith
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, aww2020
I really could have done with one more chapter to this novel. I didnt need it, but I definitely wanted it. For reassurance. In my imagination, I am pushing for a couple of key outcomes, so I guess Im just going to have to go with that. What a novel though! This is a powerful story, almost gentle in its brutality; quite a literary achievement.

Alternating between character perspectives, the novel spans only three days three very intense days. The beginning of the sections that cover day two and
Tasha Leigh
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Holy snapping fudge nuggets this novel is amazing. I got it thrown at me yesterday and told to read it because someone had to do a review and the boss didnt want to. I expected it to be just another thriller and had low expectations. Instead I ended up in tears while my fiancé looked at me like I had 3 heads.

Why is it such a tearjerker you ask? This book is the literal novelisation of a mothers worst nightmare the main character endeavours to escape her abusive husband only to have her two sons
Kylie H
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: drama, netgalley
I have mixed feelings about this book but still think it was a good read. The plot is one that is fast paced with two small boys missing after their mother, Ava, flees her violent and dangerous husband Laurence. However, the telling of the book, especially that from the perspective of Ava and Laurence is more suited to a literary style book. They seem to make a lot of trivial observations and use a lot of superfluous descriptive words when supposedly they are both at their wits end. To me the ...more
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found Sheerwater a sad, emotional, on the edge of your seat story, a page turner and a very small cliffhanger. Almost an inspirational story which is a tale about a young mother who escapes from a turmoiled relationship. After helping people escape from a plane crash, she returns to her car to unfortunately find her two boys go missing. The book is full of twists, turns and mysterious events, a small community binds together to help look for the boys and get the house ready for their return. I ...more
Julie Garner
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fiction
I received an ARC of this book.
Heartbreaking beautiful and impossible to put down. This novel will rip your heart out and have you questioning your gut as to the what/who/ the beginning.
It is about a family, torn apart by lies and cruelty. A family in pain, trying to find the best way to heal. What happens when this family is dealt another blow and their children go missing? Did they wander off or were they taken? The puzzle pieces, the grief and the maniacal voice that pervades through
Kirstie (A Novel Escape)
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: advance-copy
Thank you to Better Reading, HarperCollins Publishers and Leah Swann for the opportunity to read Sheerwater before release, in exchange for an honest review.

I will be honest in saying that I was immediately taken in with the novel simply because of the cover, and the way it sparkled. But you should never judge a book by its cover and that was true for this novel.

The story follows Ava, her two sons Max and Teddy and Avas estranged husband Laurence, plus a cast of people from the town of
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ava packs up her children, Max (9) and Teddy (4), and secretly leaves for their new home in Sheerwater. They are escaping the physical and psychological abuse of Ava's husband and the children's father, Lawrence. On the way to Sheerwater they see a plane crash and Ava instructs the children to stay in the car while she saves the pilot and gives comfort to a dying women. A man, Simon, who has been tailgating her, assists in saving the plane passengers and it turns out that he is also from ...more
Chrissie Bellbrae
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The beautiful phrasing, evocative language and fresh style of Leah Swanns writing had me reeling. This is a story about a mothers love, and the depths she is forced to take physically, and psychologically, to protect her two sons.

Young mother, Ava, leaves her home in Melbourne, to escape her abusive husband, Laurence. She travels with their sons, Max and Teddy, to Sheerwater, a fictitious seaside town along the Great Ocean Road. While abuse is suggested, in fact, the narrative is more about Ava
Leanne Mellon
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Where do I start with this one...

Sheerwater is described as an emotionally powerful unforgettable story, but unfortunately I failed to connect with it.

Ava is travelling with her two boys on a journey to start her new life. Along the way she comes across a plane crash where she feels compelled to lend a hand. In the minutes she is gone her two boys disappear. From here we now enter the mystery of who took then and where did they go.

This book alternates chapters between one of the many characters
Feb 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
I received an uncorrected reading copy thanks to Better Reading and Harper Collins.
The blurb had me hooked and I was anticipating a captivating and suspenseful read. Unfortunately it fell well below my expectations. While I enjoyed the story being told by the different characters in each chapter, the story didnt have a smooth flow and it felt like it chopped and changed too abruptly and not in the correct sequence of events. Characters like Caleb and Simon seemed to hover in the background but
Tracy Mackay
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you to Better Reading and HarperCollins for my uncorrected reading copy.

I have mix feelings about this book.
I found it bounces between a good story and a sort of dreamlike confusion. The writing is very descriptive about characters, scenery and feelings/thoughts. When it comes to the inner thoughts of some of the characters, mostly Ava it gets a bit odd and almost boring.
There is definitely tension, suspense and some gut wrenching moments and the ending surprised me.
The most confusing part
Tricia Rose
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wasnt sure how I felt about this book as it was a subject a bit close to home, initially I thought the author gave a bit too much away too fast, and the male character couldve been written a bit better - but all that aside I ended up racing to the end and found myself very invested in the story. Domestic violence is such a prominent subject that needs to be written and talked about so kudos to the author for writing about it. ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
TW: Domestic Violence

Finished this last night and it fucked me up. Originally put as 3.5 but because I keep thinking about it Ive put it up to 4. This is super thought provoking and emotionally charged! I think Ill read anything this author writes again despite this messing with me. Its a great book dealing with a difficult topic and does not shy away from slamming you in the face with your feelings.

Max and Teddy are the most pure characters ever
Vanessa Lazarus
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written and hauntingly unforgettable.
Sharon Jarvis
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Leah Swann is a brilliant writer!

I was totally overwhelmed by this powerful and disturbing story of a mothers love and the horror of domestic violence. It has taken me a couple of days to be able to sit down and try and write a review that will reflect how impressed I was with this novel.

The story is told through the eyes of several of the characters over three days. I was particularly impressed about how Leah Swann was able to write the perspective of each of the characters with each of them
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, just wow! Sheerwater by Leah Swann is captivating from the very first chapter; the premise of the story is quite simple, but what unfolds as the narrative progresses is a convoluted web of emotional turmoil. This painfully beautiful text highlights the terrifying truth behind domestic violence which is told harrowingly through the different perspectives of both perpetrator and victim. Swann perfectly conveys the issues of perspective when it comes to domestic violence and how problematic ...more
Janet Ryan
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I recently received a copy of Sheerwater thanks to Better Reading and Harper Collins publishers Australia. #BRPREVIEW, Sheerwater is a gripping Australian drama which stats off with Ava and her son's Max and Teddy on a road trip of a lifetime along the iconic Great Ocean road on the path to a new beginning after a traumatic period of their lives to a town called Sheerwater. Whilst on her way there she witnesses a traumatic accident and is compelled to stop and assist. Not wanting to traumatise ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have received the book for a fair review. Sheerwater is set in a place near Victoria's Warnambool, where Ava is trying to set up a new life for her sons Max and Teddy. The story descents into a scary story of missing children and a more sinister background story. THe pace is quick, it is an intense three days.
It might not be a horror story, but it is every mother's worst nightmare. Sheerwater takes your breath away, don't blink.
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, literary thriller about a woman running from a broken marriage with gut wrenching ending. So powerful and descriptive.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
With thanks to Leah Swann, HarperCollins Publishers Australia and NetGalley for the ARC of Sheerwater.

Leah Swann has written an extremely tense and suspenseful novel. It drew me in from the first page and held me until the end. Set on Victorias south west coast in fictitious towns somewhere between Warrnambool and Apollo Bay. There is skillful character development; I felt the fear and anxiety Ava suffers, the need to be reunited. There are descriptions of abuse, domestic violence and suffering
Richard Gray
Mar 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
You can kind of see what Swann was going for here. Yet in the attempt to be an exploration of an abusive relationship and the ripple effects of domestic abuse in the guise of a mystery thriller, at least three of those ingredients got lost in the mix.

The book begins with an interesting enough premise: Ava is driving with her two sons to start a new life in Victorias Sheerwater when she witnesses a plane crash. After rushing to help, Avas two boys going missing from her car. What unfolds in
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