When Ruth Ardingly and her family first drive up from London to view The Well, they are enchanted by a jewel of a place, a farm that appears to offer everything the family are searching for. An opportunity for Ruth. An escape for Mark. A home for their grandson Lucien.
But the beautiful farmstead holds a mystery. While drought stalks the country, The Well’s fields are verdant and heavy with produce, its springs gurgle with water, and the locals begin to suspect foul play. Ruth becomes increasingly isolated as she struggles to explain why her land flourishes whilst her neighbours’ produce withers and dies. As the mystery comes to the attention of the authorities, The Well becomes a place of spiritual pilgrimage, Ruth and Mark become estranged, and Ruth finds herself a reluctant, bewildered spiritual figurehead. Slowly Ruth’s paradise becomes a prison, Mark’s dream a recurring nightmare, and Lucien’s playground a grave.
Catherine Chanter’s brave and unusual novel is written with poetic intensity, and is part-fable, part-thriller, part dystopian-fantasy. Very much recommended for fans of Margaret Atwood’s ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’.
‘I was gripped by Catherine Chanter’s The Well immediately. The beauty of her prose is riveting, the imagery so assured. This is an astonishing debut’ Sarah Winman, author of When God was a Rabbit
‘I loved this book!‘ JESSIE BURTON, author of The Miniaturist.