The Drownings

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Pub Date 1 Aug 2024 | Archive Date 15 Aug 2024
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'Breathtaking... dark academia at its most compelling' Erin Kelly

'Barkworth is excruciatingly good' Observer

These waters became wild centuries before this university was dreamed of.
Leysham has always been a dangerous place for women . . .

Serena arrives on campus reeling from the injury that destroyed her champion swimming career. She is lost until she meets Jane, an enigmatic tutor obsessed with the historic witch trials that took place in Leysham's freezing waters.

When several young women are assaulted, the university's shadowy legacy becomes inescapable. Those in power turn a blind eye, but Jane urges Serena and her friends to rise up. As their anger builds into an inferno of female rage, Serena takes matters into her own hands.

Leysham has reawakened something within her, a dark, impossible power. In the waters, she can see what must be done - and the sacrifice it will demand.

From the author of Heatstroke, an intoxicatingly atmospheric new novel about competition, obsession and influence - for readers of The Things We Do to Our Friends, Weyward and Promising Young Woman.

Praise for Hazel Barkworth:

'Stylish and sensual' Kiran Millwood Hargrave

'Utterly immersive' Clare Mackintosh

'A sultry, stifling debut exploring power, consent and womanhood' Cosmopolitan

'Barkworth has a pin-sharp eye for detail . . . it's propulsive, though-provoking and atmospheric' Daily Mail

'Breathtaking... dark academia at its most compelling' Erin Kelly

'Barkworth is excruciatingly good' Observer

These waters became wild centuries before this university was dreamed of.
Leysham has...

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ISBN 9781035409532
PRICE £20.00 (GBP)

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Average rating from 5 members

Featured Reviews

I read a review which called this book “a dark and propulsive campus novel with witchy undercurrents”. This was when I knew I had to request an ARC. Oh it did not disappoint.

I am a big fan of dark academia books - when they are done well. Done poorly they are cliched, lacking any intrigue or inspiration. However this was far from lacking.

The scene was immediately set with the first chapter. Without being too explicit in its wording, it still revealed the loss and isolation felt due to Serena’s injury. The lack of reference almost made her loss feel more real.

The developing relationship with Jane felt so tangible, highlighting the places people will go for those who have influence over them. The desire to do as they want, to be who they want to be, and be cared for because of it.

The multiple time points was well managed, allowing us to better understand Serena’s motivation.

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This is a fantastic book, with a thread of magic running throughout it. The use of water is beautiful and the introduction of fire is exciting and the perfect juxtaposition.

The writing style is very accessible and makes it an easy read, so while the plot is slower, it keeps you hooked. I could vividly picture the setting through the description and it reminded me of several places I have visited myself.

The characters are complex, with their obsessions and flaws drawing you in.

Overall, a brilliant book.

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This is a very difficult review to write. Simultaneously enraging, spellbinding and 'wait what just happened' confusion-inducing, THE DROWNINGS is a book I think I'll return to in a few years and appreciate more.

Tapping into the witcherature trend of the hour, the novel sees Serena and a group of Leysham University students rise up against a modern day tide of spikings and a historical legacy of violence against women.

Serena is also a former competitive swimmer and, as I share her background, this was my primary reason for requesting this book and I didn't expect that it would fall into sub-plot territory so swiftly as it was overtaken by the activism narrative.

I'm also not convinced that this is a story of obsession and betrayal, as the synopsis suggests. Jealousy, anger, identity, competition and a desire for change - these for me are the themes that bleed from the pages.

There are some passages in here that will stick with me for a very long time. We all are witches, after all.

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