Helena returns to her childhood home to help care for her ailing father. Once she arrives, she is forced to reconnect with people and face memories that she has spent a lifetime forgetting. After a tragic accident, ending with the loss of her best friend (Anastasia), Helena has spent her entire life dealing with the repercussions. No one really knows what happened that night at sea…. the only thing that was for sure, was that Helena was never the sameDark Water, the debut novel by Sara Bailey, has got to be one of the most unique “thrillers” that I have read all year. The genre of this book is very hard to place. This one was surely not a fast paced thriller or a complicated “whodunit” mystery but, instead, read as an intense and psychological portrait, a coming of age tale that was laced with tragedy. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.
The story is told in alternating time periods; some from the present as Helena struggles to fit back into her old life and keep her childhood demons at bay, while other points in the novel are back to when Helena was a teenager and the events leading up to the tragedy. I loved Helena’s teenage perspective. I especially enjoyed piecing together the events that lead up to Anastasia’s death and seeing how everything would fit together in the end. There also a few moments where Helena’s step-mother, Kate, has a point of view and things are told in her perspective; these ones are tense moments to read as Kate tries to tip toe around and find her place within the family dynamic.
It is no secret that I am a fan of heart pounding, fast paced, on the edge of your seat thrillers. This book was not that. Not by a long shot. But, I didn’t mind at all. Bailey is able to write such an intense portrayal, that I was entranced as I read. I could not put this book down.
My favourite part of the book was the relationship between the characters; all equally complex and addicting. I loved the complexity between Anastasia and Helena. I also loved the side story with the love triangle. I will not go into any more details so I don’t give away any spoilers but, please note, it was extremely well written.
This book has a little bit of everything for everyone. I highly recommend this read and cannot wait for more from Sara Bailey!
Many thanks to Jacqui Lofthouse, Nightingale Editions, and the author, Sara Bailey for providing a digital copy of this book; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.