Sheerwater by Leah Swann

Author: Leah Swann
Genre: General Fiction (Adult) , Literary Fiction

Sheerwater: the start

At the start, we see the mother: Ava trying to cajole her children into the car. She has everything planned for the trip but you will get the feeling that she’s not going on a trip at all. Soon it becomes clear, Ava is running. She has hopes and dreams, hinting here and there about the life that she had before.┬áMax and Teddy are oblivious to her plan, because they are young children.

The story really starts when Ava and the kids spotted a plane crash on the way to Sheerwater, their final destination. When Ava got back from saving the people stuck in the plane, her children are gone.


Ava is one viewpoint in the story. The other viewpoints are her husband, Laurence and Max the first-born son. Simon is a man whom she met while trying to help the plan crash victims earlier in the book.

The multiple point of views are to help clarify things that will be hard with only one. This also means that the book is not a mystery, but a story telling. The story is not a happy adventure, but more about domestic violence and the havoc it wrecks on communities.


I have to touch on the multiple characters and how skilfully Leah Swann creates the characters Ava and Laurence. In Sheerwater, all the characters are semi- unreliable. Ava with her secrets, Laurence who puts up a facade, Max the child, and Simon the recovering alcoholic. It is easy to doubt who is telling the truth, and that makes the story believable.

Another interesting thing about Sheerwater, is the tribute it pays to the Stolen Generation. If you wonder what I mean, here is a link to Australians Together. Hence, it is not just a missing children’s story.


Sheerwater is not for the soft-hearted, there’s no happy ending. It is a true representation of the pain that victims go through. The pace is intense, as the event happens over three days. But you can almost smell the sea where the story is set. I think if you can stomach the sadness, it’s a great read.

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