Published by Atria on May 19, 2015
Genres: Adult, Mystery
Format: eARC from Netgalley
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
Ruth Ardingly has just been released from prison to serve out a sentence of house arrest for arson and suspected murder at her farm, The Well. Beyond its borders, some people whisper she is a witch; others a messiah. For as soon as Ruth returns to The Well, rain begins to fall on the farm. And it has not rained anywhere else in the country in over three years.
Ruth and her husband Mark had moved years before from London to this ancient idyll in the hopes of starting their lives over. But then the drought began, and as the surrounding land dried up and died, and The Well grew lush and full of life, they came to see their fortune would come at a price. From the envy of their neighbors to the mandates of the government, from the fanaticism of a religious order called the Sisters of the Rose to the everyday difficulties of staying close as husband and wife, mother and child;all these forces led to a horrifying crime: the death of their seven-year-old grandson, drowned with cruel irony in one of the few ponds left in the countryside.
Now back at The Well, Ruth must piece together the tragedy that shattered her marriage, her family, and her dream. For she believes her grandson's death was no accident, and that the murderer is among the people she trusted most. Alone except for her guards on a tiny green jewel in a world rapidly turning to dust, Ruth begins to confront her worst fears and learns what really happened in the dark heart of The Well.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This book had such an overwhelming melancholy feel, I had to read it in small chunks because the feeling of the book kept soaking into me. The feeling fell just short of depressed, but it was certainly on the darker side of emotion.
This mood fit the story very well as the story is all about Ruth, and her reflections on what happened at The Well. Her story looks back at when her and her husband first arrived, and the struggles that started with the drought. It goes through the arrival of her daughter and grandson, and the arrival of the Sisters of Jericho. From there, everything goes downhill until we reach the present where Ruth is alone under home arrest, trying to figure out if she killed her grandson or not.
It was a very personal story, one the focused almost solely on Ruth and her thoughts. It was easy to follow, and made an intriguing read.
The ending was surprisingly satisfying. It wasn’t exactly a happy ending, but it was fitting, and I could feel the melancholy mood lifting to something a little more peaceful. It was this mood shift right at the end that really drove home how masterful the tone was portrayed in the rest of the story. It became very obvious that the melancholy feel was deliberate, and very well written.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, and the adventure through Ruth’s life. It was interesting to read a book where a catastrophe was mostly a backdrop, with almost no emphasis or baring on most of the story.