Monday, 15 October 2018

Review: The Drowned Village by Kathleen McGurl

I’ve told you before that I’m a binge reader, and I’m finally getting round to addressing my new year's resolution, which was to read a book a week for a year. Whether I shall fulfil that resolution is open to some doubt, since I haven’t kept a note of every book I’ve read and have had to try and cobble something together.

This is inevitably problematic, because looking at my Amazon account will tell me that when I downloaded a book but it doesn’t tell me when I read it. As anyone with the dreaded to-be-read pile knows, a book can sit waiting its turn for a long time. My current (honest) list stands at only thirty, though I must have read more than that. I think I can reasonably add the full-length unpublished manuscripts I’ve read for friends, which gives it a healthy boost, but still leaves me 16 books short of my target.

I can do 16 books in two and a half months. Easy.

The long and the short of it is, it’s book review time again. This time I won’t be posting my review on Amazon or Goodreads because I’m reviewing a friend’s book, but I will say I loved Kath McGurl’s The Drowned Village. It’s one of those what’s-not-to-like books that could have been written to my own specifications for a contemporary romance.

Best of all, Kath has set the book in one of my favourite places, Haweswater in the Lake District (it appears thinly veiled as Bereswater, but I wasn’t fooled).

It’s a dual timeline story, about a mystery in the village of Brackendale Green (real life Mardale Green) which was flooded in the 1930s to create a reservoir. In the present day, Laura goes to the Lakes to recover from a broken relationship and visit the dale which her grandmother left as a child. An unusually hot summer has revealed the village and her grandmother, Stella, begs her to retrieve a mysterious package from one of the old cottages, to solve a decades-old mystery. The origins of the mystery form the second timeline.

i’ll give away no spoilers, but I will say that what Laura and new friend Tom discovered was the key to a terrific mystery. Kath kept me guessing to the very end as to how it would be solved, and there were a couple of gut-wrenching twists as the truth of an old injustice was revealed.

In the story the village re-emerges during a drought, just as it did this summer, and I walked every step of the way with Laura and Tom. The plot is great and the descriptions terrific. If I was very picky I would say that the bit where Laura’s ex turned up drunk wasn’t really necessary for the story and felt a bit cliched, as well as begging the question of what she’d ever seen in him in the first place. But that’s a minor thing, and the only criticism I have.

I loved it.

The Drowned Village by Kath McGurl. Published by HQ


  1. Thank you so much! I loved writing this book. Must set another one in the Lakes soon.