Cover Image: Still Water

Still Water

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Member Reviews

This book was haunting in such a beautiful way. I loved the dual perspective narrative to help compare and contrast their differences. The exploration of mental health, in a time that just didn't understand the serious nature of it, was so sad.
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I thought this book was brilliant. A dark emotional tale, confidently told by this debut novelist. Really atmospheric and compelling
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Deeply atmospheric and visceral, with hugely evocative descriptions of everything from windswept Scottish islands to the bloodied floor of a fish-canning factory. Deals powerfully with trauma and recovery, and the ways in which our own past informs our present. I don't want to say much more as I think this is one you really need to read to appreciate, but highly recommend!
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Thank you to Net Galley for an advance copy of this book.  What can I say except I really liked it.  It was about remembering the past to forget it and move on.  There are some troubling subjects  written about but all handled sensitively….. subjects which sadly do need to be brought out into the open.

The story is about Jane previously known as Hannah, who comes to terms with her past and her fears by reading her mother’s diary, much of which is heart wrenching, honestly written by a young mother suffering from what we now know as post natal depression.  Jane goes through torment, fearing her genes could carry a dangerous future for anyone she loves.  She battles her terrible fears and finally confronts them.

I loved the contrast and similarities between The Shetland Isles and Devon …. there were some beautiful descriptions particularly of Unst and I enjoyed learning some new words such as ‘peerie’.  Read this book to find out more!  A great read!
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Read this in a day, a very hot day, the cold conditions of the Shetland islands were refreshing.
The seventies when an unplanned pregnancy was a disaster and in this case an absolute tragedy.
Sylvia is a thalidomide baby, how she feels and how she is treated by strangers are sensitively described. When she meets Bobby he is the man of her dreams, getting pregnant at sixteen was not part of her dream, she is supported by her friends and family  and goes to live is the cold, isolated and unwelcoming Shetlands, 
Sylvia never had chance to bond properly with her premature baby Hannah and suffers from depression, which is never fully resolved. The portrayal of the depression and her perception of it are truly frightening.
Hannah is haunted by her upbringing and struggles with her life,
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An incredibly atmospheric book, that I read in a couple of sittings. Still Water is a powerful, skilfully-written debut novel, both in terms of style and of construction. The main narrative follows the story of Jane, a young woman traumatised by what her mum did before disappearing when she herself was still just a child, and is interspersed with extracts from the diaries of said mum Sylvia. The plot goes back and forth between the late 70s/80s and the 21st century, between Devon and the awe-inspiring islands of Shetland. It's a dark but beautiful and empathetic novel about mental health, family trauma and postpartum psychosis, with complex characters and dramatic landscapes. Highly recommended.
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Really enjoyed this book, read it very quickly, really makes you consider the cycle of trauma and nature vs nurture
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This is a beautifully written novel dealing withtrauma, grief and human frailty. It's extremely atmospheric and the cold, hard, environment is almost like an additional character. Rebecca Pert writes respectfully and accurately about post-natal depression and the attitudes and ignorance that existed regarding this condition. It's very sad book in places but ultimately redemptive and a celebration of recovery.
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DNF at 25%

I read most of this 25% in one sitting but unfortunately it wasn't for me – the story, while intriguing especially as the mother's diary is dipped into – didn't have me desperate to read "just another chapter"
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A visceral, eerie and compelling book. From the very beginning I knew that this was something special.

An unusual setting in the Shetland Islands, the landscape is portrayed in a haunting form, evoking foreboding from the ground to the sky. The main character working in a fish processing factory adds a chilling and grotesque element.

The story is about a woman who is content with her life despite living under a cloud of past trauma. The distress and anxiety is reignited when something is found in a flooded quarry. This is all revealed gradually as she reads her mother's diaries that tell of her meeting her father, getting married, having children and moving to the Shetland Islands as well as other disturbing issues. Told from only these two perspectives, it is an intimate and challenging account.

Expertly and beautifully written, the reader sits under a chill until the end. Feeling exposed and raw from this journey, I'm waiting for the next book from this new writer. Recommended for those who like courageous and resolute novels.
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This is a beautifully written, powerfully executed dual narrative book which touches on some incredibly difficult and emotional subjects with a lightness of touch that makes it highly readable and yet sensitive to the issues. Just gorgeous!
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Book covers keep getting better and better don’t they? This one is stunning in its simplicity and gives an evocative insight into the haunting story this debut novel tells. Pert won the First Novel Award at Cheltenham Literary Festival for the book. 

Jane has returned to Unst in the Shetland Islands where she spent her early childhood years. She has a steady job in a fish factory and a loving boyfriend in fisherman Mike, but she is haunted by her past. When she is notified by police that her mother’s prosthetic arm has been found in a quarry in Devon, Jane begins to read her mother’s diaries, creating a dual narrative timeline of 1979 for the reader and the present day and opening up the secrets and lies of the past. 

Still Water is a hard book to categorise. It deals with some very heavy topics (cw: post partum depression, post partum psychosis, intrusive thoughts, abortion, grief, suicide) but it’s somehow not a heavy read. Pert has written the book with a huge amount of empathy and gentleness. 

The trope of the diaries was a little clichéd and there were some details in the book that didn’t quite ring true. Having said that, it was a compelling, immersive read and for anyone who has ever had a baby and felt completely at sea, there will be a lot to relate to in here. 

The pieces in the book on intrusive thoughts were particularly well done - I experienced these after having our children (manifesting themselves as worries about what might happen to them) but I wasn’t aware of what they were until my third child. Thankfully, I never experienced anything more severe but this story serves as a reminder of how closely we need to mind new mothers 💔. 

An atmospheric read that I can see being a word of mouth success and a popular one with book clubs, I really enjoyed it. 4/5 ⭐️ 

*Still Water by Rebecca Pert was published on 23 June and is widely available. Many thanks to the publisher @boroughpress and @netgalley for a digital copy of the book. As always, this is an honest review.*
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This was a really slow burn for the first half or so.  It took me a bit of time to get into it but once I was in I was hooked! The dual perspective narrative works really well as it really demonstrates Jane’s thoughts and the diaries from her mother makes you consider her actions from a different angle. We are able to compare and contrast both Jane and her mother’s life as we move through the story which adds to the dark and twisty nature. 
There’s a lot of difficult content to manage in this novel but it’s handled with a beautiful writing style. The look at how trauma, grief as well as medication and post-natal depression has affected Jane’s life. It’s a difficult read at many times yet I finished it feeling empowered and satisfied.
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Set on the Shetlands this atmospheric novel gradually builds the tension from the first page. I loved Janes mum diary entries and the present day told through Janes eyes. A great read.
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Still Water is a dark and atmospheric novel with a dual timeline, mainly based in the Shetland Isles.  We learn the story of Jane in the present timeline as she’s reading her mother’s 1970s diaries. Something awful happened to Jane and her mother, but exactly what it was is only gradually revealed over the course of the novel.

An engaging read with a powerful and unforgettable ending.
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I thought Still Water was an incredible book. I cried so much reading this. I loved the way the book moves from past to present gradually revealing how the past tragedy is affecting Jane’s life now. I love non-linear narratives. I also loved the way suspense is built. You don’t find out the truth about Sylvia (Jane’s mother) and that tragic day until almost at the end of the book which makes you keep turning pages until all the threads connect. I also loved the setting and the way the author brings Shetland to life. I can’t recommend this enough.
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Jane Douglas returns to the Shetland Islands, convinced she has left the darkness of her past. Her life is simple, mundane even. Just how she likes it Then a fragment of her past enters her present. The body of her long-missing mother is thought to be in the flooded quarry. The news brings back suppressed memories and details of events that Jane has tried her best to forget. 

I’d describe this book as realistic fiction. The author has done an amazing job at creating imaginary characters and situations that depict the world and society. The characters focus on themes of growing, self-discovery and confronting personal and social problems. This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

3.5/5.
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A dark story, twisty and fascinating. A dual timeline, women who suffered loss and trauma, the fascinating setting of the Shetland.
It's poignant and sometimes disturbing story, I found it a bit depressing at times.
The author is a talented storyteller, the descriptions of the Shetland are fascinating, and the characters well developed.
It's recommended.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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I really wanted to read this book as it was set in Shetland but I fell in love with it because of its beautiful enigmatic and sometimes ethereal writing.  It is quite something that this is a debut novel.  It is a very accomplished novel and it feels very self fulfilled.  The author clearly knew the story she wanted to tell and achieved it perfectly.  This story is about two women struggling to make their way in the World, dealing with grief and mental health issues.  I think this book deals with these issues sensitively whilst creating an atmospheric and compelling read helped by the beautiful backdrop that is the Shetland Islands.
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Loved this! There's something haunting about the cover which immediately drew me in and I'm happy that's happened cos I would have potentially otherwise missed this beautifully written tale of family trauma, grief, mental illness and the challenges of motherhood. Superbly told and so intense an unflinching but with a vein of empathy and compassion that runs all the way throughout the story. 

I find it hard to believe this is Rebecca Pert's debut - what a talent! I'll definitely keep a close eye on her future works.
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