This was kindly sent to me by a lovely publishing house called Salt Publishing after I requested a copy to review.
From the back of the book:
After ministering to fallen women in Victorian London, Evelyn has suffered a nervous breakdown and finds herself treated by the Water Doctors in the imposing Wakewater House, a hydropathy sanatorium. Years later, Wakewater House is renovated into modern apartments and Kirsten moves in, fresh from a break up and eager for the restorative calm of the Thames. But her archivist neighbour, Manon, fills her head with the river’s murky past and with those men of science and art who were obsessed with the drowned women who were washed up on its banks. As Kirsten learns more about Wakewater’s secrets, she becomes haunted by a solitary figure in the river and increasingly desperate to understand what the water wants from her.
This is a simply brilliant little book.
Considering that this book is about water, specifically the Thames and its pull on the inhabitants of Wakewater House both in the present day and Victorian times, its weird how it called to me so strongly too. There is something about the cover, dark and brooding that made me want to read this so badly. It took me just over a day from its arrival.
Its an easy read at 130 pages but i dont mean that in a bad way, just that I felt myself drawn into the story and like the water it carried me floating along in its wake.
Both Evelyn in 1871 and Kirsten in the present day were fascinating characters to discover. Both had ended up at the same place because of their pasts, both were drawn to the water in different ways and both surprised me more than I had imagined they would which was a delight. The whole book is mostly female dominated which was a real change and a good one.
The writing is simply gorgeous, at times lyrical and beautiful in its simplicity, with hints of magical realism/folklore and fantasy and the tension was always present throughout. It is quite a creepy, eerie and very atmospheric read and, for someone who has never liked the water much, a damn scary one at times.
I can’t pretend to fully understand the ending but thats okay, it will keep me pondering on it for ages to come. I had an idea in my head about how the book would go but I was way off and suffice to say I never saw it coming for a moment which is the way it should be.
Now i can’t wait to read more of V.H. Leslie’s work and have downloaded a sample of her supernatural/ghost stories collection, Skein and Bone.
Have you read this, what did you think?
What books like it would you recommend i read?