The Water Children (Hardcover)

By Anne Berry

Simon & Schuster, 9781451642186, 319pp.

Publication Date: May 8, 2012



For fans of Audrey Niffenegger and Maggie O'Farrell, The Water Children is a sensual, richly atmospheric drama of passion, betrayal, revenge, and redemption.


From the icy banks of a secluded country pond to the fevered core of a historic London heat wave and immersion in an abandoned underwater village in the Tuscan mountains, four young people--each of whose lives has been irrevocably altered by water-- converge in this brilliantly plotted drama of passion, betrayal, revenge, and redemption.

Owen is haunted by nightmares of the Merfolk. He believes they have stolen his little sister, who vanished while he was meant to be watching her on the beach. But he was only a child himself. Is it fair for his mother to have blamed him all these years?

Catherine's perfect Christmas was ruined when she went skating on a frozen pond with her cousin and the other girl nearly died. Yet it is Catherine who feels, as she says, "permanently trapped under the ice."

Sean grew up on a farm in Ireland. Learning to swim in the River Shannon was his way of escaping the bitter poverty of his childhood, but communing with the river spirits incurred his superstitious father's wrath.

Naomi never feared the water. She was orphaned, cruelly abused, and the sea offered a cleansing balm; she reveled in the ocean's power. But Naomi has another secret buried deep within her, and during one searing hot summer she will be the catalyst for the coming together--and tearing apart--of the water children.

About the Author

Anne Berry was born in London in 1956, moving on to Hong Kong at the age of six, where she was educated. She founded a small drama school, writing and directing more than thirty plays in ten years, and now lives in Surrey with her husband and four children. Her first novel, "The Hungry Ghosts," was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers Prize."

Praise For The Water Children

“In this contemporary take on Charles Kingsley’s Victorian Christian classic The Water-Babies, British novelist Berry (The Hungry Ghosts, 2009) echoes the original’s fairytale lyricism . . . Berry’s writing is so gorgeous—sometimes lush, but just as often painfully precise while capturing in stark detail the emotions within a moment.”Kirkus Reviews

“Lush prose . . . An unsettling and engaging read about the lives of four children with powerful ties to water.”Publishers Weekly

“Symbolic and lyrical . . . a gripping page-turner . . . Berry delves deeply into the forces that drive personal growth and life choices while building up to an edge-of-your-seat ending. Intense characters and beautiful descriptive passages are true gems in this psychological drama.”Booklist

“Berry creates a vivid backdrop for her intricate plot.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Simply heartbreaking, The Water Children is a beautiful story, crafted with real skill and artistry, and told in a rich and sumptuous voice. One of the best novels I have read all year.”—Keith Donohue, New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Child and Centuries of June

"With The Water Children, Anne Berry takes you to the deepest, darkest recesses of the human condition. Go. Allow yourself to be carried away by her astonishing prose, lulled by a redemptive story about something as simple as love, as complicated and terrifying too. This is a staggering read."—Amy MacKinnon, author of Tethered

“Anne Berry is a wonderful writer with a poetic imagination and use of language; startling metaphors and images flow effortlessly from line to line and, from page one, the plotting is heart-in-the-mouth stuff. What more could you ask?”The Daily Mail (London)