July 7th, 2021 by Jane Turner
This review of Down by the Water by Elle Connel comes courtesy of a Blog Tour organised by Random Things. Down by the Water is published on 8 July 2021 by Wildfire Books. I received a free copy of the ebook to review.
Seven friends gather at a castle in the Scottish Borders. One last girls’ weekend before Georgina’s wedding. Near the castle, through a path in the woods, is a loch. After a few bottles of Prosecco, the girls head down to the water to take photos. The loch is wild, lonely, and stunningly beautiful. They set their camera to self-timer and take some group shots. Later, looking back at the pictures, they see something impossible.
Behind them, eyes wide, a small, drenched boy emerges from the water.
How did he get there; where is he now; and what does he want?
The girls thought they knew each other’s darkest secrets, but one of them has been hiding something terrible. Consumed by grief, she’s been waiting for the perfect moment to wreak her revenge…
This one has a killer twist…
Seven women met as students and come together again after many years to hold a hen’s night. The bride to be, Georgie, is…
Well, to me she’s one of those noxious types who can change opinion on a dime, lie their hearts out, and change history according to their will. Those types whose personality just overrides everyone, and you either go with the flow or get drowned.
Down by the Water focuses on repercussions of an old incident, horrible and with massive consequences, instigated by Georgie but long forgotten to almost all…
The characters involved are a little archetypal, but they are engaging and have their own additional foibles. There’s the optimist, the lesbian, the mother, the follower, the peacemaker, and, of course, Georgie. And then there’s Tessa, the one who remembers.
The story twists and turns through the hen weekend, thoroughly marinated in alcohol, sometimes ambling, but always making me dislike Georgie more. It’s not til two-thirds of the way through that we get that key piece of information that just ramps the tension to the max. I raced through the last section, and was particularly impressed with the ending. Nope – no spoilers!
More than anything else, though, this book is about schoolfriend relationships and fixing history. And it’s done brilliantly.
If you’re after a female-led revenge thriller, Down by the Water will totally float your boat.
Elle Connel studied English at the University of St Andrews, and later Shakespearean Studies at Kings College London and Shakespeare’s Globe. She has worked as a researcher for Al Jazeera television, a freelance writer while living in Spain, and later as the Cruise Coordinator for the National Trust for Scotland (where she worked onboard a ship, swam amongst icebergs, set foot on St Kilda, and finally learned how to ceilidh dance). She’s now a full-time writer, based in Edinburgh with her husband and twin sons.
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