Review: Sheerwater by Leah Swann


Title: Sheerwater

Author: Leah Swann

Published: March 20th 2020, HarperCollins Australia

Status: Read March 2020 courtesy HarperCollins/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

When a light plane crashes by the side of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, Ava, a former emergency rescue worker, feels compelled to stop and render assistance. Leaving her two young sons, Max and Teddy, safely locked in the car with strict instructions to remain, she and and another passerby bravely pull the pilot and two frightened children from the wreckage moments before it explodes. When emergency services arrives Ava makes her way back to the car only to find it empty.

Alternating primarily between the perspectives of Ava, her estranged husband Laurence, and their oldest son, 9 year old Max, Sheerwater is a harrowing tale, skillfully executed by Leah Swann.

Ava’s fear for her missing sons is visceral, her confusion and anxiety building as the police question her every word. Laurence’s attempts to reframe the narrative are infuriating, and an all too familiar reflection of recent current events. Max’s courage is heartbreaking as he tries to care for and protect his four year old brother, Teddy.

The prose is lyrical and evocative, portraying nuanced character and emotion. Vivid imagery conjures a sense of place, no matter the setting.

Though there are a few elements I felt were perhaps out of place, they didn’t detract from my interest. Unfolding over a period of three days, the pace is intense, and the increasing tension utterly gripping. I was left shattered by the ending.

Both beautiful and brutal, Sheerwater is a compelling read.


Available from HarperCollins Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cherryrhughes
    Mar 26, 2020 @ 19:37:52

    Can you earmark this for me please? Sounds a good read. Xx




  2. Helen Murdoch
    Mar 27, 2020 @ 07:28:08

    This sounds like one that could hold my attention in these unfocused days of sheltering at home.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Theresa Smith Writes
    Mar 28, 2020 @ 14:12:20

    So shattered by that ending!!

    Liked by 1 person


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  5. Verushka, an editor (@SydneyEditor1)
    Mar 31, 2020 @ 20:44:28

    I tried this book, and I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t get into it sadly. Yours is the first review I’ve read of it, so you have given me much to reconsider about it.

    Liked by 1 person


  6. Mic
    Apr 17, 2020 @ 15:47:12

    This definitely sounds like one I need to get around to

    Liked by 1 person


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