Emotional, powerful, unforgettable. From a stunning new literary talent, you won't be able to put down this novel about a mother's love for her children - it will break your heart.
Winner, 2021 Davitt Award, Best Debut Novel
'With visceral prose and a tense narrative arc that unfolds over just three days, speeding towards a dramatic conclusion .... Sheerwater is a propulsive read with an acute emotional core ... likely to hold appeal for readers of both literary and crime fiction, and fans of writers such as Emily Maguire, Emma Viskic and Sofie Laguna.' Bookseller + Publisher
Ava and her two young sons, Max and Teddy, are driving to their new home in Sheerwater, hopeful of making a fresh start in a new town, although Ava can't help but keep looking over her shoulder. They're almost at their destination when they witness a shocking accident - a light plane crashing in the field next to the road. Ava stops to help, but when she gets back to the car, she realises that somehow, among the smoke, fire and confusion, her sons have gone missing ...
From a substantial new Australian writing talent, Sheerwater is tense, emotional, unforgettable. Perfect for readers of Mark Brandi's Wimmera and Stephanie Bishop's The Other Side of the World, this is a beautifully written, propulsive, gut-wrenching and unputdownable novel - an aching, powerful story of the heroic acts we are capable of in the name of love.
'Sheerwater is that rare gift of a book that balances gorgeous, glittering language with breathless pace. Leah Swann writes with devastating honesty ... This is an extraordinary novel - I tore through it, captivated by the imagery and the setting, desperately hoping for a happy ending.' Rebecca Starford, author of Bad Behavior
'Heart-in-mouth story ... Swann's language is sinewy and pointed; the book is trim and every sentence is necessary...a complex and horribly believable story with tremendous flair.' The Age
'Sheerwater is a haunting story built on conflict. Freedom and control, tenderness and violence, hope and fear, love and hate. It shows the strength of a mother's love and the yearning for something more ... This novel is full of beautifully gripping prose and deeply powerful emotions told through sublime pacing. I found it triggered a peculiar mix of wanting to dwell in the darkly emotive prose while needing to urgently push through it to find resolution. It will be one of those books that lingers in your mind, the memory of which may even be mistaken for a story read in the news.' Booktopia
'Sheerwater is compelling reading ... There is an urgency in the writing that makes you read on because you must know what the conclusion is - no matter which way it goes ... This is an extraordinary literary debut; the writing is beautifully evocative and the intertwining narratives of the main characters seamless. It's tender, it's suspenseful and you'll be wanting to see so much more from Leah Swann - I ignored everything for a day to rip through the pages and loved every minute of it.' Better Reading