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  • Writer's picturehffishwick

A Study in Drowning


A beautiful, haunting story that I didn't want to end.


Effy has been haunted by visions of the Fairy King since she was a child, with only the fairy story Angharad and sleeping pills to get her through the night.


When she's offered the chance of a lifetime to design a new home for the author's widow and son, she jumps - especially as it gets her away from the Architecture college where whispers follow her footsteps. But when she arrives at Haereth, she finds a house half-drowned and in ruins on a crumbling clifftop. Water seeps through the wallpaper and entire floors are submerged by the dark sea. Rebuilding Haereth would be an impossible task for an accomplished architect, let alone a first-year student. But with nothing to return to, and an opportunity too good to refuse, Effy is drawn deeper and deeper into a murky world where nothing is as it seems and water pours through the cracks of her memories, her mind and her sanity.


Steeped in fantasy and magical realism, this book was utterly impossible to put down, but at the same time I didn't want it to end. Effy was a protagonist it was easy to root for, although I was never quite sure how her story was going to end.


I loved the mystery elements to the plot, and Reid keeps tension high throughout with unsettling and uncertain visions and the constant threat of the sea. Snippets of literature add to the dark, Gothic atmosphere, and there are lots of interesting discussions about authorship, and how the personality and actions of writers can affect our responses to their works.


This is the first novel I've read by Ava Reid, but it definitely won't be the last.

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