Down By The Water by Anna Cruise
Genre: New Adult Romance
Publication Date: September 2013
Page Count: 405
Review Copy: ARC
Reviewed by: Lynsey
Synopsis: Lily can't escape the past.
Ten years after a tragedy tore her family apart, Lily is on her way to college for what she hopes will be a fresh start. Instead, she finds herself broken down in the place she swore she'd never return to, the place by the water that damaged her family beyond repair. When Ty Reilly offers her help, she reluctantly accepts, eager to get her car fixed and get the hell out of town.
But before that can happen, an eerily similar recurrence stops Lily cold. With her identity and ties to the old tragedy revealed, new suspicions cast a bright light on Lily. Everyone around her – the guy who offered her help, her own wayward sister, and the town sheriff who remembers her from a decade earlier – begins to wonder if her reappearance is merely a coincidence or if she's somehow involved.
As Lily begins to thread together strands from the past with the present, she realizes that there's no such thing as a coincidence down by the water.
And that you can't ever really leave the past behind.
Making a Splash
Finally a New Adult novel with more to it than just angst, hormones and troubled pasts. Hoorah!
That's not to suggest Lily isn't full of angst, hormones and troubled past woes, of course. I mean, duh! Of course she is! But, for once, there's also a compelling murder mystery going on AS WELL, and this addition to the bog-standard, formulaic blah-fest that the NA genre is so quickly becoming, was very refreshing.
It's probably increasingly evident with every NA review I write that I'm getting burned out on this genre, and fast. Keep picking up the damn things, though, don't I? They always seem to promise so much and have the most alluring covers, but they're just all the same. There's one or two I've read that were so wonderful that a small seed of hope was planted that keeps tricking me into thinking I'm going to find another hidden gem any minute. *sigh* It's not happening. But...DOWN BY THE WATER, while not one those really great ones that had me sobbing all over my Kindle, was very good. Just in a different way.
We join Lily on the road to her new life, which involves driving right past the place where her old life fell apart. If there's a single stretch of road anywhere in the world that she would hate to break down on, it's the one that runs alongside Pelican Lake. I'm not going to spoil for you why that is since the author doesn't reveal it in the story right away, but it's a family tragedy that haunts her to this day.
But, as you probably guessed, she does break down, and has to be rescued by a Mr Ty Reilly who offers to give her a room for the night at his family's place - which then turns out to be the other last place on earth she ever wants to go! I mean, what are the chances? Oh, wait, this is fiction. Quite high, then.
Ty was delicious. He's a "good boy." A golden-haired hottie that doesn't have a bad bone in his delectable body. I prefer for a least one of the characters not to be messed up, usually. When they both are...well, sometimes that works if they help each other recover, but it means twice the angst, and there's only so much angst one can take. The balance here was good, though. Ty is a solid presence and a real rock for Lily as all her ghosts come back to haunt her.
As for Lily herself, she was smart, not too overly-dramatic, dry-humoured. I mean, she'd have to be with a sister like hers. Whew boy! Just wait until you meet her. You'd be pulling your hair out if you were her sibling. Yowzers.
The mystery was well put together and although I guessed the killer, I still enjoyed the reveal scene!
So all together a nice cast, a fairly sizzling romance, and a well-executed mystery. As another reviewer has pointed out, it doesn't end in the the most solid of conclusions; there could be more to come, or maybe you're supposed to just imagine a sweet future, but, yeah, it was a little ambiguous. Still enjoyed it, though!