Deeper Water by Jessie Cole

I missed the first book by Jessie Cole which was Darkness on the Edge of Town but after reading Deeper Water I think I will look that book up. Deeper Water is set on the edge of a country town where Mema lives with her mother. Mema is the youngest in a large brood most of whom have flown the coop. All except for Sophie who has come back home with two tiny children in tow after a bruising, failed relationship. Emma’s mother is a potter and being occasionally free with her favours which produced children with different father’s is a bit of an outsider in the town. She decided that because of the gossip and Mema’s minor handicap, (a club foot) that Mema would be home schooled. Consequently, Mema is rather unworldly and without access to the usual modern gadgets of youth, for example, access to the internet much less a mobile phone, she seems very innocent.
However Mema is very comfortable on a country property and when heavy rain causes a flood, she deals with a stranger in danger of drowning after he drove onto a flooding bridge. She simultaneously helps a cow struggling to give birth.
The stranger, Hamish, loses his car and all of his possessions so is stranded and has to wait it out at Mema’s house. Not surprisingly, Mema is drawn to Hamith, and he to her, but not with the same intentions. Meanwhile Mema’s wild friend Anja has her demons and is jealous of Mema and Hamish and is a disquieting presence.
The writing has an almost elegiac quality and it really draws you in. Each character is very clearly defined and you get a real sense of what makes each of them tick. This is a lovely book. Highly recommended. $30

deeper water

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