Dark Water by Sara Bailey *Blog Tour Review*

    I am delighted to be part of the celebrations for the launch of Sara Bailey's debut novel, Dark Water.

    Set in the Orkney Islands, it follows the story of Helena who returns to her childhood home following her father's heart attack. It is the first time that she has returned there since she left following the traumatic disappearance of her best friend, Anastasia, in a swimming incident.  Haunted by her memories, she has to confront what happened and face up to the people who have never left, including her first love, Dylan, and her stepmother, Kate. The narrative shifts seamlessly between the present day and her teenage years and in some ways, it is a coming of age tale as well as a gripping psychological study. 

    The Orkneys are ever present as is the folklore of the selkie: a mythological creature which resembles a seal in the water but can transform into a human on shore. Helena is haunted by her memories of her teenage years and her glimpses of a young girl who only she seems to see. I enjoyed trying to fathom out the different characters. At times, the narrative shifts to Kate, Helena's step- mother and this gives us a different angle on Anastasia. The writing is atmospheric and I particularly enjoyed comparing the adolescent Helena with the adult one. The story was full of little twists and surprises and the ending seemed to come out of nowhere. 

    Meticulously plotted, I was totally drawn into the story. The teenage Helena is not a totally sympathetic character but her almost obsessive feelings about Anastasia, coupled with jealousy and envy give her character depth and delivers to us a masterly portrayal of teenage angst and confusion. It is hard to pigeon hole the story- part coming of age, part mystery, part study in family relationships. The narrative carries you through to the end and leaves you gasping. I had to re-read the final part to make sure that I understood it.  

In short: a haunting and evocative journey back into the past.


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 Thanks to the publisher, Nightingale Editions for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.

To connect with the author visit her website  here and on Twitter here


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