Carolyn's Reviews > Sheerwater

Sheerwater by Leah Swann
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2020, netgalley, netgalley-2020

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 the crash of a small plane and as the first person at the site, Ava pulls off the road, and after telling the boys to stay in the car, rushes to see if she can help any of the passengers. After pulling the pilot from the plane, others arrive and Ava heads back to her car only to find the boys missing. Any parent who has sight of their child for even a few minutes will understand the sheer terror Ava experienced at that moment.

This is not so much a novel about missing children as one about relationships. When Ava first met Laurence he was playful and charming but as their marriage has gone on he suffers periods of rapid mood change and rage. He is easily angered and hits out at Ava and frightens the boys to the point where she has taken out a restraining order and just wants to get away from his hate and anger. Ava’s mother is less than supportive as she has been charmed by Laurence and does not believe he is capable of hurting Ava or the boys.

I liked the way the novel is written, with three of the family members, Ava, Laurence and Max telling their side of the story as it unfolds. Nine year Max’s care and love of his little brother, four year old Teddy was really lovely, in the face of the frightening situation they found themselves in. While the main characters were quite well formed, the minor characters felt very underdeveloped. Particularly Simon, who arrived after Ava at the crash site and helped her in Sheerwater after the boys were taken. There were some glimpses of his story but not enough to resonate or fill out his character. (view spoiler). Given that the novel is quite short more time could have been spent fleshing out Simon and his brother Caleb who was also interesting and sketchy.

Overall, this is a haunting tale with a very emotional ending and an important one as every day we continue to hear harrowing tales of family domestic violence caused by uncontrolled male anger.

With many thanks to Harper Collins Australia and Netgalley for a digital copy
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Reading Progress

February 26, 2020 – Started Reading
February 26, 2020 – Shelved
February 26, 2020 – Shelved as: 2020
February 26, 2020 – Shelved as: netgalley
February 26, 2020 – Shelved as: netgalley-2020
February 27, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Phrynne (new)

Phrynne Great review Carolyn but I think I will skip the book. Last week's domestic violence issue on the news was enough for me for a while:(


message 2: by Carolyn (last edited Feb 28, 2020 11:28PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carolyn Good thinking Phrynne. I have to say I didn't realise that was what it was about when I requested it. The blurb made it sound like a mystery but it's more of a domestic drama - my third in a row!

Now for something completely different I've started reading She Has a Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker which is shaping up to be very good!


message 3: by Victoria (new) - added it

Victoria Thank you for this review, I was thinking of studying this, and now I think I will!


Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* Terrific review, Caroline!


message 5: by Dale (new)

Dale Harcombe Terrific review Carolyn.


Kylie H Great review, this is on my TBR list, so now looking forward to it.


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