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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  893 ratings  ·  195 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.

'With visceral prose and a tense narrative arc that unfolds over just three days, speeding towards a dramatic conclusion .... Sheerwater is a propulsive read with an acute emotional core ... like
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 20th 2020 by HarperCollins - AU
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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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
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 pl ...more
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
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

**3.5 stars**

Sheerwater by Leah Swann. (2020).

Ava and her two young sons, Max and Teddy, are driving to their new home to make a fresh start although Ava can't help but keep looking over her shoulder. They are almost there when they witness a shocking accident; a light plane crashing in the field next to the road. Ava stops to help but when she gets back to the car she realises that among the smoke, fire and confusion, her sons have go
Gloria Arthur
Mar 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-bookshelf
Sheerwater is an emotional read and a mother’s 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
Mandy White (mandylovestoread)
Sheerwater is a book that I have wanted to read ever since it came out. I was gifted it in a random act of kindness by the lovely Laura and couldn’t wait to get stuck in. It was a book that once I picked it up was really hard to put down.

I really don’t know what to say about this story. It was tense and highly emotional with a shocking ending that took me a while to comprehend. It is beautifully written to have you in the moment with the characters. I think it would make a great movie.

Ava is dr
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, she’s 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 r
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

* POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 #21: A book published the month of your birthday.

‘Ava gazed out at the sea between the houses as they walked the short track to the township. Sheerwater. So far the sea was never sheer in this place. It was opaque, inky: a set of wild indigo whirlpools from some brutal myth of creation. Everything here was extreme: the light and the dark and the savage wind that makes you shiver and wears you away.’

I can completely understan
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 muc
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 didn’t need it, but I definitely wanted it. For reassurance. In my imagination, I am pushing for a couple of key outcomes, so I guess I’m 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 an
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, Ava’s husband Laurence, Ava’s son Max
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
When a light plane crashes by the side of Victoria’s 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 be
Sheerwater is the breathtaking novel from Australian author Leah Swann. Set in the fictional place of Sheerwater, Victoria, this is Ava’s story of physical and emotional abuse in a domestic violence situation. Told over three short days, Sheerwater, deviates from the norm by using multiple perspectives to explore the full impact of domestic violence in a sensitive yet open manner. Heartbreaking, gut wrenching and powerful are just some of the words that should be used to describe a book that per ...more
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!

Michael Livingston
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I listened to this, which I think adds a layer of distance compared to reading (at least for me). It's fine - a reasonably propulsive plot, some nice writing and a dramatic finale, but I found the characters and a few of the coincidences a bit unconvincing and wasn't super invested in how things turned out at the end. ...more
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such an impressive novel by this author. Imagine helping victims of a plane crash then finding your own sons kidnapped, it’s every mother’s nightmare.

what follows is a race to find two little boys by a mother who is running away from her abusive husband. I really felt for her and the two boys.

I listened to this on audiobook and it kept me riveted to the story. This is one author to watch!
Paula Brandon
Sep 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
Oh my. I am beyond fed up with books that expect me to decide for myself how the story ends and what happens to certain characters.

I know some readers like that. So if you like stories that expect you to decide what happens, you might not be as bothered by this book as I was. As for me, like I've said many times before, when I pay $30 for the opportunity of stepping into the world and its characters created by the author, I want to know how they see the story playing out. If I want to decide how
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.
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: popular-fiction, lit
If the pen is mightier than the sword and a great author can wield it with the precision of a brain surgeon, the sword wielded by Leah Swann it is the kind of blunt little tool dismissed out of hand by Hannibal Lector, fit only for Alan Rickman to eat your heart with.
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars for the unputdownable suspense in this gripping story. The dread begins with a woman fleeing a bad relationship for a new life in the country, the disappearance of her sons as she stops to help at the scene of a plane crash and then the tension builds as the story hurtles to a cataclysmic end. Some of the supporting characters sat oddly in the story, namely Simon with his psychic premonitions, his brother Caleb and the whole religious element and then there was I guess a tribal elder/ ...more
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 Ava’s estranged husband Laurence, plus a cast of people from the town of Sheerw
Cass Moriarty
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sheer Water (4th Estate Harper Collins) is the debut adult novel for author Leah Swann, although she has published a collection of short stories, a middle-grade series and poetry. Sheer Water is a fast-paced crime novel that I raced through, pausing only to savour the extraordinarily beautiful descriptive sections of prose that punctuate the action.
The story at first appears deceptively simple: Ava and her two young sons, Max and Teddy, are driving to their new home – and their new life – in th
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Anna has separated from her husband and has a restraining order. She decides to take their two sons, aged 9 and 4, and to move to a small town four hours drive from Melbourne. But as they near their destination, a small plane crashes into a field near the road and as a former first responder, Anna knows she has the skills to help. So she parks the car and instructs her boys firmly to stay put while she runs to help. Another passer by joins in the rescue efforts and gradually more people show up. ...more
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 didn’t 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 so
Feb 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This was a fabulous weekend read. It drew me in and had me flipping those pages! I didn’t see that ending coming at all and it was heartbreaking 💔
This beautifully written book is about a mother fleeing her abusive husband to start a new life for herself and her two young boys. When she witnesses a plane crash and rushes to help, she comes back to her car afterwards and discovers that her boys have vanished. What follows is a harrowing search for her missing boys and dangerous and twisted circums
Kylie Porter
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a read!!! Loved the language and the imagery throughout the writing in this book. I couldn't put it down. Do yourself a favour and read this compelling and exciting thriller. ...more
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 Sheerwa ...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
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 Victoria’s Sheerwater when she witnesses a plane crash. After rushing to help, Ava’s two boys going missing from her car. What unfolds in pra
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