Dark Water – Sara Bailey


Welcome to the Dark Water blog tour!

About the bookdark-water-cover

Published: 3rd October 2016 (Nightingale Editions)

A deeply poignant coming-of-age thriller

When Helena returns to her childhood home in Orkney to care for her father after a heart attack, she is forced to face memories that she has spent half a lifetime running from. Still haunted by the disappearance of her blood-sister, Anastasia – who vanished during a daredevil swimming incident – Helena must carefully navigate the island that made her, and the old faces that still ask: what really happened that night by the wrecks?

An intense portrait of adolescent yearning and obsession, from debut novelist Sara Bailey.

My Review

This debut novel is beautifully atmospheric with the island of Orkney being as much of a character in Dark Water as the characters themselves!

Helena is back in the Orkney Islands but isn’t too impressed with the idea or the memories that being back is generating. Helena’s father has had a heart attack so Helena has returned to look after him, alongside her stepmother with whom she has never really bonded with, despite the length of time Kate has been in her life.

What follows is a beautifully written prose, mainly told from Helena’s perspective both in current time and flashbacks to her adolescence. The shifts in time are well written and do not disrupt the flow of the story.

The majority of the story focuses on Helena’s grief at the loss of her best friend, Anastasia who she thought would be by her side forever….however even before Anastasia’s death, Helena felt that she was drifting away from her, adding further to her guilt and grief. As such, despite a good life in London it appears that Helena has struggled to form close relationships with anyone since.

It is difficult to actually pinpoint what genre this book is in because you have both the mystery of Anastasia’s death alongside the coming-of-age elements through the narrative of the young Helena.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dark Water, it is hard to believe that this is a debut novel as it is so well written, how the plot lines are interwoven is fantastic; building up a picture of the friendship between both Helena and Anastasia as well as with Magnus, Anastasia’s boyfriend and Dylan, Helena’s best friend and potential boyfriend.

About Sara Bailey

sara-baileyDr Sara Bailey left Orkney to go to London aged 16. After working in a variety of different jobs from mortuary attendant to stage manager on Les Miserables, she studied part time and went on to University. She has an MA in Women’s History, an MA in Creative Writing as well as a PhD in Critical and Creative Writing.

Her first book was published by Bloomsbury in 2013, Writing the Horror Movie, which she co-authored whilst hiding behind a cushion.

In the 80’s she saw a lot of bands and married a keyboard player from Spandau Ballet, with whom she has two children. Divorced but still friends, she has recently returned to Orkney and married an Orcadian. Dark Water is her first novel and heavily inspired by the islands she has returned to.

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