This story is set in the countryside near Newcastle, that has a river running through it which seems to be the epicentre of a number of tragic female deaths over many years, even dating back to women who drowned through trial by ordeal for witchcraft.
Nel Abbot, a single mother who lived in the town when she was a child, returned to her childhood house with her own daughter and it was part of the river there, called the Drowning Pool, that fascinated her and was the object of her research into the lives of the women that died there, including the recent death of her daughter’s best friend. ‘Beckford is not a suicide spot. Beckford is a place to get rid of troublesome women” Nel wrote. This story begins, however, with us learning that Nel also lost her life in The Drowning Pool – but did she commit suicide or had something more sinister happened?
We are told the story from the perspective of 11 different characters; from Nel’s 15-year-old daughter and sister, to the local school headteacher and local psychic. We find out how their stories intertwine with each other and with the women who died in the Drowning Pool. But each of the narrators seem to be unreliable in one way or another and we questions each.
The plot has lots of twists and revelations, much like a cold murky river running through the countryside.
It held my attention throughout and was an enjoyable read that kept you guessing and wanting to know what had happened. Great read.