Read advance reader review of The Well by Catherine Chanter, page 5 of 9

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The Well

by Catherine Chanter

The Well by Catherine Chanter X
The Well by Catherine Chanter
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  • Penny P. (Santa Barbara, CA)
    The Well
    I really enjoyed this book once I decided that I could believe there could be a drought in all of the British Isles. I could understand the panic that ensued because I live in California and we are currently in the midst of a serious drought. I think this book was interesting from a number of different perspectives. First, it showed how quickly people can turn on you, secondly, demonstrated how personal relationships can be influenced by the outside world and thirdly it pointed out how we can rely on outside influences to make sense of our current problems. For me, this was a very interesting and well written novel but I do think in order to read it and get the most from it, the reader must be open something a little bit different. I belong to a book club of 8, I would highly recommend it to three, I am not sure about two but a pretty sure the other three would find the premise unbelievable. I personally, am very glad I read the book. As stated earlier, it was interesting and well written.
  • Marci G. (Sicklerville, NJ)
    The Well
    Isolation and destruction in the land of plenty. Leaving London to live on farm, promises of an idyllic life turns into chaos and disaster.The farm's lush greenery from the frequent over night rain while the rest of the country is experiencing a severe drought isolates the couple from the town. A mysterious religious group arrives and further divides the couple. I did not like any of the characters but despised Ruth for her poor decisions. That being said this was a good read because I was invested in the book, waiting for one of the characters to wake up and smell the fragrant roses( or at least see Amelia for who she was.
  • Mary S. (Hilton Head Island, SC)
    Dangers of Self-Importance
    he Well is thought provoking and keeps one guessing even though after reading the first fifty pages, one can guess at the probable ending. What is less apparent is what, I feel, is the author's real intent-- the message of the dangers of believing that we are more important than what reality tells us. Listening to false affirmations and interpreting the world as we want to see it to be keeps us from reaching our full potential as members of a common humanity-- this is the real message of The Well. The author's writing style is beautiful and mesmerizing much as the world of cults that she writes about in the telling of the story.
  • Kathleen W. (Appleton, WI)
    The Well
    In some respects, I wish I had never read this book. While it is definitely well-written (no pun intended), has strong characters, and raises some critical questions, the book is haunting and I can't get disturbing images out of my head. This will be a great selection for book clubs and for readers who like to grapple with difficult issues. I would hesitate to recommend The Well without this disclaimer. I am sad after reading this book but am in awe of the writer who was able to create this world. She deftly balances the beauty of the land with the variety of troubled relationships of the characters.
  • Lynn W. (Calabash, NC)
    The Well
    This is a debut novel that is not only well written but tells a story that is different and interesting. We tend to think that things like a drought can not affect those of us lucky enough to live in modern, intelligent societies. The story that is told has several different layers about the affects of nature and mankind turning against us and putting faith in the wrong things. A very good read.
  • Margaret H. (Springfield, VA)
    The Well
    Is The Well as perfect as Ruth and her husband think when they move there or is the family magically keeping rain from falling everywhere except on their farm? Is the answer going to come from the religious fanatical group of women who have moved on the land and soon have Ruth under their spell, drawing her away from her husband and event her beloved grandson? This psychological thriller keeps the reader involved as disaster strikes the farm. Soon Ruth is kept under house arrest, alone, except for a visiting priest. Moving from present time and back to the time of trouble, the author pulls in the reader to answer the many questions the book raises. The book is beautifully written and one can easily picture the farm setting . The main characters are well drawn and even the stereotypical soldiers and visiting minister are believable. However, the book can be confusing as the author jumps from present day to the past, sometimes in the middle of a chapter, thus making it sometimes difficult for the reader to determine when events are occurring. Many authors present a story from different points of view and time but they are usually placed in different chapters. Ms Chanter does hold the reader with her descriptive writing but the reader must concentrate to determine the time setting of the tale.
  • Amy M. (Kirkland, WA)
    The Well is a mixed experience
    The narrative structure of The Well is well-constructed to provide the reader the sense of isolation and desperation for social connection while imprisoned - both voluntarily and involuntarily - in relative paradise. However, I struggled with certain aspects of the protagonist's journey because I didn't find all of her choices believable. I do think the cult aspect of the plot is a realistic one given the setting and circumstances, but I had a hard time believing Ruth's absorption. (I actually thought I'd somehow inadvertently skipped a chapter or two.) There's a moment with the Sisters of Rose that, for me, made the resolution of the murder mystery obvious and muddied Ruth's characterization. I didn't see a progression in the narrative to support her shift from influenceable to fully controllable. While we clearly see the other lengths she goes to for self-preservation, the degree to which she does this with the Sisters at the expense of the one source that anchors her happiness didn't make sense to me.

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