Title: The Well
Author: Catherine Chanter
Publisher: Atria Books
Date of Publication: 19 May 2016
Number of Pages: 400
Rating: ⭐️ did not finish @ 24% – star rating is based only on what I read.
Disclaimer: Copy provided free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Summary: 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 neighbours 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.
Review: There was a strange, sterile feeling to this book. The set up of the background was far too slow and by the time a decent hint was given I no longer cared.The present day set up also didn’t make sense. We’re supposed to feel what at Ruth and Mark having water and rain on their farm? We haven’t been given any context or history about drought. It’s mentioned in passing and we find out there are no cows to give milk because there’s no grass but as the reader, we shouldn’t have to work so hard to figure out what’s going on.
Intrigue and fantasy elements are completely fine. I like intrigue and fantasy. Plenty of writers produce dystopian stories that absorb the reader without the reader really being aware of it. Chanter misses an ingredient with The Well. I don’t know what it is exactly but the spark isn’t there and I couldn’t bear it.