Sheerwater - Leah Swann
Emotional, powerful, unforgettable. From a stunning new literary talent, you won't be able to put down this novel about a mother's love for her children - it will break your heart.
Ava and her two young sons, Max and Teddy, are driving to their new home in Sheerwater, hopeful of making a fresh start in a new town, although Ava can't help but keep looking over her shoulder. They're almost at their destination when they witness a shocking accident - a light plane crashing in the field next to the road. Ava stops to help, but when she gets back to the car, she realises that somehow, among the smoke, fire and confusion, her sons have gone missing ...
From a substantial new Australian writing talent, Sheerwater is tense, emotional, unforgettable. Perfect for readers of Mark Brandi's Wimmera and Stephanie Bishop's The Other Side of the World, this is a beautifully written, propulsive, gut-wrenching and unputdownable novel - an aching, powerful story of the heroic acts we are capable of in the name of love.
About the Author
Leah Swann is the award-winning author of the short story collection Bearings, shortlisted for the Dobbie Award, and the middle-grade fantasy series Irina: The Trilogy. Her short fiction and poetry has been published in numerous literary magazines, and she works as a journalist and speech-writer. Sheerwater is her debut novel. Leah lives in Melbourne with her family.
Staff Review by Scott Whitmont
Leah Swann’s impressive debut novel Sheerwater packs an emotional punch which is both gut-wrenching, dark, and achingly beautiful. The power of this family story takes hold of the reader from its thriller-like opening chapter and does not let go until its nail-biting and shocking conclusion.
Ava has finally taken action to leave her abusive husband Laurence and start afresh in the Great Ocean Road seaside town of Sheerwater. Her well-planned new start is quickly derailed by the crash landing of a small plane in a field by the road whilst she and her young sons, nine-year-old Max and four-year-old Teddy, are en route. Acting on instinct, she quickly instructs the boys not to move from the car and rushes to the rescue of the injured pilot and his passengers. It doesn’t seem possible when, after more help arrives, she returns to the vehicle to find no trace of the boys. They wouldn’t just run away in the middle of nowhere. Who could have taken them? As Laurence had no idea where they’d been heading, surely, he couldn’t be involved?
This tale of domestic abuse and what a mother is capable of doing to protect her children is told with palpable drama and pace. Ava lives her life juxtaposing fear and hope, reminiscent of the story of Rosie Batty. Told alternately in the voices of Ava, Laurence and young Max, their story is both devastating and haunting, whilst giving great insight into issues of anger and domestic violence as well as the determination and power that comes from unconditional parental love. Brilliant.
"Sheerwater is that rare gift of a book that balances gorgeous, glittering language with breathless pace. Leah Swann writes with devastating honesty ... This is an extraordinary novel - I tore through it, captivated by the imagery and the setting, desperately hoping for a happy ending."
Rebecca Starford, author of Bad Behavior
"With visceral prose and a tense narrative arc that unfolds over just three days, speeding towards a dramatic conclusion .... Sheerwater is a propulsive read with an acute emotional core ... likely to hold appeal for readers of both literary and crime fiction, and fans of writers such as Emily Maguire, Emma Viskic and Sofie Laguna."
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