Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sweet Water” as Want to Read:
Sweet Water
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sweet Water

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  4,093 ratings  ·  274 reviews
What did her son do in the woods last night? Does a mother really want to know?

It’s what Sarah Ellsworth dreamed of. Marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Martin. Living in a historic mansion in Pennsylvania’s most exclusive borough. And Finn, a teenage son with so much promise. Until…A call for help in the middle of the night leads Sarah and Martin to the woods, where the
Kindle Edition, 357 pages
Published January 1st 2021 by Thomas & Mercer
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sweet Water, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sweet Water

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,093 ratings  ·  274 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Sweet Water
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
For my full review, visit me at

This book neither blew me away nor kept me on tenterhooks. Overall, I found there was a lot of delay to the narrative progressing and a lot of idle chatter. However, I was curious to see how the protagonist, Sarah, would escape the folds of such a rich, influential family.

For my full review, visit me at
Lynda Kelly
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: deleted
My Kindle First choice this month but it turned out not to be my "thing" at all and just ended up frustrating and irritating me in equal measure. The way Sarah goes along with whatever Martin demands got on my nerves as, to listen to her, she had more backbone than that. Then, to back up her waste-of-space son and maybe covering up what he may have done I found appalling. The whole family are and entitled with not a hint of moral fibre among them !! For one mother to act in ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've received this free e-arc from Netgalley to post a honest review this fall. In Cara Reinard's newest domestic suspense debut, Sweet Water, this shocking tale will send bone-numbing shockwaves on every page from start to finish. For Sarah Denning, she had everything she could dream of when she married Martin Ellsworth, her college sweetheart, and lived in the life of luxury in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. But when Sarah and Martin discovers their son Finn next to a dead woman near the lake, it ch ...more
anna ps
Dec 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
I finished this yesterday and... my word! It was not good.

The plot was promising and the story started out well. HOWEVER. As soon as you got into it and the story started to thicken/get interesting, a new chapter started with a totally different - and much slower - tempo; a chapter focusing on events that happened years ago, when the protagonist (Sarah) was younger.

This kept happening and it totally killed the flow of the story for me! It was really annoying. So much so that I ended up skim-rea
Jo Ann
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was ok

I’m not sure why I kept reading this book, other than to find out the actual details of the young girl’s death. It’s so badly written! It’s hard to believe there was a real developmental editor consulting the author - there are so many terrible usage errors, and, worst of all, egregious repetition after repetition. The author never says or observes something once — she repeats it over and over, and then over again. The main character is impulsive, weak and indecisive, but then somehow d
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
So the rich pay people off to stay out of trouble. Who doesn't know that? Apparently the main character of this novel, Sarah Ellsworth. She meets Martin her first day of college. A few days later one of the pledges at Martin's frat house dies during a hazing ritual. Martin is the pledge master. Nothing happens to him or the fraternity. Yet although Sarah suspects it was hushed up because Martin's family is extremely rich, she continues to date him. Ever heard of Mary Jo Kopechne, Sarah?

I figured
Dec 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
Had to stop halfway through. Not a fan of the whole anti-hero thing anyway and my life is too short to read a book where someone is this annoying and stupid.
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
I should just skip Prime First Reads. I haven’t found a good one in a while.
Shelleen Toland
Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
It’s what Sarah Ellsworth dreamed of. Marriage to her college sweetheart, Martin. Living in a historic mansion in Pennsylvania’s most exclusive borough. And Finn, a teenage son with so much promise. Until…A call for help in the middle of the night leads Sarah and Martin to the woods, where they find Finn, injured, dazed, and weeping near his girlfriend’s dead body. Martin and Sarah will protect their son.
But Sarah isn't comfortable with everything being covered up and all the lies. But that is w
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have not read anything by this author before and this book kept my attention all the way through. I thought the ending was a bit rushed and would have liked more explanation of some outcomes. Overall a good read
Denise Shaver
Dec 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Started off strong. I did not want to put it down. The last 1/4 dragged on and it was a little hard to stay engaged. The twist was rather obvious and the ending seemed a little tacked on. Not a bad book. Not great, either.
Cara Devlin
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic suspense novel! I had no idea who I could trust for most of it, even questioning the narrator at times, wondering if she was unreliable. It was so engrossing and wonderfully detailed, and I loved the changing timeline, from present to different times in the past. Highly recommend this one!
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Originally posted on Gobookmart

Review :
Sweet Water has a fascinating beginning when the peruser is immediately propelled to the center of a scene in Sewickley Heights: Yazmin is discovered dead.

We follow the storyteller, Sarah Ellsworth as she reveals to us her story. Sarah marries her sweetheart, Martin. They now live in a mansion located in Pennsylvania. It is a blessing from heaven, and Sarah and Martin have worked for this dream. Everything is magnificent until one night they get a call
Jenna Bachman
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: firstreads
This one had so much promise in the beginning but went downhill pretty fast. The premise is really intriguing and the first chapter hooked me, but the narration just falls into "this is the theme of the novel and I am telling you it right now" kind of telling that drives me crazy in novels.

Sarah's internal narration when she was in college was also not the greatest; college students have a lot more thoughts beyond "this boy is hot" and "I need to do my homework." I think Sarah had the potential
Oh goodness.
I picked this as my First Reads selection, and I was very disappointed. I almost DNF'd many times, but I powered through. I kind of wish I had just put it down. The beginning was strong, that first chapter pulled me in, but then it was all downhill from there.
The story jumps between three different points in time, but the jumps are really choppy and don't flow together at all. The characters were not believable, or likable in any way. The main character's internal dialogue had so ma
Dec 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
GR says I have read 787 books. 16 of those books I gave a 1 star, including this one. Enough said.
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
Snooooooze. Made it 14%. Barely.
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
How far would you go to protect your child?

Would you do anything? Even if someone ends up dead?

Sweet Water was a tension filled mystery from start to finish. It starts with two teens in the woods. One is dead and one can’t remember what happened. Finn’s parents decide that there’s just no way their child would hurt another human… so they cover it up and protect their son at all costs.

I guess it’s true that the disgustingly rich really can buy anything. Or can they?

But for Sarah – the one thing t
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
I did not find this novel to be a page turning one. It is a book for readers who like lots of back story, lots about each of the characters (whether primary or not), and much more about the current situation than is necessary for an engaging plot. All the main characters are deeply flawed and it was hard for me to find any of them attractive.

The redeeming aspect of this novel is the primary issue about which the plot revolves. One may think that a crime has been successfully covered up but there
Julie Lacey
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
This is a good read but it was a bit of a slow burner after the initial discovery of the body.
Sarah and Martin are called by their son, Finn and asked to help him. They find him in the woods with the dead body of his girlfriend.
Sarah wants to phone the Police but Martin persuades her not to, as it makes their son look guilty.
Against her better judgement Sarah goes along with what Martin says but later regrets it.
Finn has taken some drugs so can’t remember what actually happened and
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What happens when your teenaged son calls you in the middle of the night because he is in serious trouble? What happens when you are 20 years into a marriage and you start to question whether your spouse is a trustworthy/reliable partner? Do you really know your family? What happens when you find yourself in a tangled mess - that you didn’t create?

The characters were realistic. Not many were likeable and even the likeable characters had some unfavorable moments. (If you’ve read my previous revi
Kim Loman
Dec 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This is such a complicated book to review. I liked the story, it was really intriguing but there were so many problems with the way the author told it. I felt like characters were introduced without purpose and others didn’t have enough development. The pace of the story was slow because the author included so much unnecessary detail. The main character is, well, pretty dumb. Reading through and clues are unraveling I’m seeing who the culprit is, but the character is not picking up on it. I was ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you Prime First Reads for loaning me this book.

Probably more of a 3.5 rating, but it kept me on the elliptical for so long, I bumped it up to a 4. There were a few 'sort of twists,' but since I figured them out before they were revealed, I don't really consider them twists. But that's okay because it was a good story. I cared about what happened, and there was enough tension to keep me gripped.
Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)
Beautiful cover, but blasé book.

Ways this book bored and annoyed me:
There is constant mention of "sweet water" on nearly every other page, like hey, we get it!

Sarah is not a full character, but a mere outline who has no distinguishable personality. Her backstory just took up space and repeated the same two things over and over: she slept with another dude once and he ran away from her and omg she would love to be rich.

Sarah's husband and his family are also cardboard cutouts of villains: they h
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Unexpected turns

I loved reading this. My biggest dislike...the fBombs. I would have given if 5. It was a quick read, considering I fall asleep reading nightly. I liked the characters and dreams and was surprised some of the characters were not the good people I hoped they would be
Dec 12, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Many times the freebies end up being duds but I liked this. It was fast paced and very thought provoking. I liked the main character Sarah. She was very relatable. I loved the different relationships she had with the house, her father, Josh etc. I could totally relate to her motherly feelings also.
Angela Wolfenbarger
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Domestic thriller, my Amazon first reads choice this month. I loved this book and as a mother of 2 boys could relate to the story. I thought it was gripping and easy to read. I will definitely be looking to read more from this author!
Kat Netzband
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was ok
It was good until it just wasn’t.
About mid way through plots became to predictable. And every other page I felt like I was reading the same sentence again and again.
She has a great idea. But the execution could have been done better. Would definitely look into a more critical editor who goes more in depth into the story than just the grammatical/ structural aspect.
Crystal Ipock
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so good! I definitely recommend this one. Money can be the root of all evil.
Deanna Melangton
Dec 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Really not sure how I felt about this book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Every Last Secret
  • Open House
  • The Shadow Box
  • Girls of Brackenhill
  • Memories in the Drift
  • Not One of Us
  • Hadley & Grace
  • The Cipher (Nina Guerrera, #1)
  • The Last Resort
  • DRY BONES a cozy murder mystery (Village Mysteries Book 3)
  • This Magnificent Dappled Sea
  • This Secret Thing: A Novel
  • The Haunting of Brynn Wilder
  • The Widow's Cabin
  • Dying To Tell
  • MELODY OF MURDER a gripping Cotswolds murder mystery full of twists (Alex Duggins Book 3)
  • The Hyder Ali Series (Hyder Ali 1-5)
  • The Truth Is
See similar books…

Related Articles

Die-hard mystery fans are always on the hunt for their next supremely satisfying whodunit. To help you stock that Want to Read shelf, we asked...
31 likes · 20 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“It seems a hard standard to live up to for a lifetime. I don’t want to be the stressed companion to keep everything in pristine order. I want a more relaxed life,” 0 likes
“There’s always been something about musicians that drives me wild. It’s probably because music bleeds into my body when it resonates, and when someone can play well, it’s like my soul teems with it.” 0 likes
More quotes…