Dark Water by Jan Ruth

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Helllllo readers – hope you’re feeling a little better than I am. It’s been one of those days/weeks/months. I broke a mirror at new year and it seems to be doing its damned best to mess up my best efforts. Firstly my computer at work died a death which was horrible and then my laptop died a death too. Then, just to really upset me – I tried to buy a laptop online and it just wasn’t happening so I’ve been a little lost. But I’m back and ready to get back into blogging and this book is the perfect one to start me off.

The tragedy and comedy that is Jack’s life; is there a future for him and Anna, or is the past too destructive? Jack Redman, estate agent to the Cheshire set and skilled juggler of complex relationships. Someone to break all the rules, or an unlikely hero?

 In this sequel to Wild Water Jack and Anna return to discover that history repeats itself. Anna’s long-awaited success as a serious artist is poised to happen, but her joy, along with her relationship with Jack, is threatened by old scores. 

Simon Banks is a depressed and unstable man with a plan. He wants to wipe out his past by buying a brighter future, but Jack Redman stands in his way. Will Jack ever escape the legacy of lies and deceit left by his ex-wife? Can Jack and Anna hold it all together, or will tragic repercussions from Jack’s past blow them apart forever?


So as like the blurb suggests the plot is only going to get thicker in this second book. As we continue from the first tale we see Jack torn between wanting to be with Anna but also wanting to make the right decision in respect to his child/ren. Pressured by his ex-wife to move herself their daughter Lottie and her toddler son James closer to Lottie’s school and therefore closer to Anna’s home means that the stress on their relationship is reaching uncomfortable levels. With the confusion of parentage still lingering and Chelsea’s father Simon Banks – who has become increasingly unstable and now wants to reveal his true identity whilst also having a terrible grudge against Anna – it’s all getting a bit too much. It’s all mixed up family relationships and wobbles and that’s a pretty interesting tale to spin.

So, what makes this book exciting? Well for one I love the way that all the characters are of a slightly older age. This is like a grown-up chick-lit that doesn’t just deal with lust and excitement it is filled with responsibility, with baggage and with disillusioned characters and it feels so real. Each still has a sense of hope and as with the first book it made me feel for the characters so much more. Each character has also been developed so much more – Jack feels more haggard, more tired and I just wanted him to pull through and make the right decision. I thought the added characteristics, nothing really new from the first book but the elevation of the secondary characters traits helped to gel the developments in the characters lives.

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In terms of the writing – once again the description is beautiful. The landscape is Wales really allows for that, and it helps to add atmosphere, excitement and a deeper, darker addition to the tale. It almost becomes a character in itself. It’s not overwhelming but it just helps to put the characters against a really fully-fledged background. Places like the quarry, Patsy’s cottage and the art gallery just came to life in my mind and would in the imagination of any reader.

I liked the way that the author allows the reader to make up their own mind about what’s going on. Themes of love, loss, hope and stress are all developed and yet we get to see it from both Anna and Jack so we can develop are own ideas. Each character is flawed and in the wrong at one point or another which allows us to move between characters and not just dismiss them. As like in any book there are heroes and villains but here they’re allowed to be judged fairly? If that makes sense.

The only wobble may be there are a lot of characters and at the start I was a little confused as to who was who and what their relationship with another character was but once I got back into it I was just pulled into another exciting and rich tale. So would I recommend? Yes, it has such grit and realism and it speaks to numerous different readers. With beautiful characters, an intriguing plot and with an understanding of how to draw the reader in this book is a triumph.



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