Publication Date: January 1, 2021
What did her son do in the woods last night? Does a mother really want to know?
It’s what Sarah Ellsworth dreamed of. Marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Martin. Living in a historic mansion in Pennsylvania’s most exclusive borough. And Finn, a teenage son with so much promise. Until…A call for help in the middle of the night leads Sarah and Martin to the woods, where they find Finn, injured, dazed, and weeping near his girlfriend’s dead body. Convinced he’s innocent, Sarah and Martin agree to protect their son at any cost and not report the crime.
But there are things Sarah finds hard to reconcile: a cover-up by Martin’s family that’s so unnervingly cold-blooded. Finn’s lies to the authorities are too comfortable, too proficient, not to arouse her suspicions. Even the secrets of the old house she lives in seem to be connected to the incident. As each troubling event unfolds, Sarah must decide how far she’ll go to save her perfect life.
Sweet Water Reviews:
“An unsparing account of ‘rich people problems’ that goes on forever, like all the best nightmares.” —Kirkus Reviews
Sweet Water grabs you right from the start and doesn’t let up.
Sweet Water is told from Sarah Elsworth’s perspective going from present-day and flashing back to pivotal moments in Sarah’s life.
Sarah comes from the wrong side of town, being raised by her custodian, widower, salt-of-the-earth father, and marries her golden-child university sweetheart, the son of a wealthy family in her hometown of Sewickley, and enters a life she only dreamed of, in her dream home and raising two sons.
As the story unfolds, Sarah fights the need to protect her son from a murder charge, with the desire to do the right thing for her son’s dead girlfriend. Her husband and his family have absolutely no misgivings to cover-up the crime scene and protect their own from the recriminations and consequences—no matter what.
Ms. Reinard leads the reader through Sarah’s early years via flashbacks—her close relationship with her father, her time at university, her first love, how she met and fell in love with her husband, her marriage, and so on—through those memories, you come to realize how Sarah’s husband has manipulated her over the years. Sarah came across as unbelievably naive and willfully ignorant, but I think it was essential to show the growth Sarah makes throughout the arc of the book.
Notwithstanding those frustrating moments, I loved Sweet Water! I loved the twists and turns, even if I figured out the murderers (all of them) before the end. It had a satisfactory ending, and I loved Ms. Reinard’s writing style. Cara Reinard is a hot new star on the publishing front to watch for, and with another book in stores in December, she’s sure to be topping the charts for some time.
Cara Reinard is an author of women’s fiction and domestic. She currently lives north of Pittsburgh with her husband, two children, and Bernese mountain dog.