Reservoir 13

Review From User :

This is the first novel that I have read by this author and I loved it. This is less a novel about crime and more a reflective meditation of the flow and rhythms of nature, the lives and actions of characters throughout a period of years. It is a story of ordinariness, the reality of how life is in the country and delivered with understated prose. I could not help but be moved by the narrative and enchanted by the poetic and lyrical writing.

It is set in a village in the Peak District and is ostensibly about the disappearance of a 13 year old girl, Rebecca or Becky, on a walk in the hills with her parents on New Year's Eve. This hits the village hard, police and emergency services are called. For a while, things come to a abrupt halt, search parties are organised, they look everywhere they can think of but all to no avail. There is talk and suspicions are aired. The Vicar endeavours to ease the travails of the congregation. However, life cannot come to a standstill because of the enormity of the happening and its impact on people. So there is a subtle recalibration with a focus on what actually happens in a community and nature. There are people coming and going, school, love, births, death, jobs to be done, secrets and betrayal. The ongoing cycle of the seasons, the landscape, the power of nature, wildlife and the birds. The elements of Rebecca and her impact on others are interwoven in the story.

This is a richly detailed and observational novel rooted in the circle of life, death and nature through the years. It's a slow and absorbing read which may not appeal to readers who prefer a fast paced, action driven read. There is a beat, rhythms and refrains in the prose that dictate a slower reading pace, a necessity, I feel, to take in the beautiful descriptions and writing. An excellent and profound read. Highly recommended. Thanks to HarperCollins 4th Estate for an ARC.


Midwinter in an English village. A teenage girl has gone missing. Everyone is called upon to join the search. The villagers fan out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on what is usually a place of peace. Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed. As the seasons unfold and the search for the missing girl goes on, there are those who leave the village and those who are pulled back; those who come together and those who break apart. There are births and deaths; secrets kept and exposed; livelihoods made and lost; small kindnesses and unanticipated betrayals. An extraordinary novel of cumulative power and grace, RESERVOIR 13 explores the rhythms of the natural world and the repeated human gift for violence, unfolding over thirteen years as the aftershocks of a tragedy refuse to subside.

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