I’ve always wanted to write a book about the ocean. Not the blue sky and sunshine kind, but a gloomy one that evokes that timeless, haunted feel only the sea can conjure – of countless wrecks and lost souls, of buried secrets and quiet, solemn knowledge.
So naturally, when I find a book that ticks all these boxes, I’m one very happy reader.
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw is one of those books I continue to see everywhere, especially on book lists – the must-read books for Winter, fans of the supernatural will love these titles, the biggest books coming to Netflix. So while the book actually came out in 2018, it’s been on my radar for a while, mostly thanks to Book Twitter.
The story takes place in a small coastal town with a dark past. Two centuries ago, three sisters were drowned for witchcraft. Sparrow has been cursed ever since. Every year during Swan Season, the sisters return to exact their revenge, and claim a life for every one of theirs taken.
Seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot lives on an island just off the coast of Sparrow. She and her mother keep mostly to themselves. They’ve been directly affected by the curse and know only too well how bad things get when Swan Season starts. But everything changes when a stranger named Bo arrives in town, and Penny can’t stop herself from trying to keep him out of danger.
This book definitely evokes that moody, haunted feeling I’ve been looking for. Penny is as haunted as the town itself. She lives on the ocean, but is tortured by what it represents in her life and yet, she can’t live without it. She’s head-strong and complex, and readers will come to realise that there is so much more to her than meets the eye. As soon as Bo arrived like a washed-up sailor from a shipwreck, I began rooting for these underdogs all the way.
The Wicked Deep is a magical read and can be swallowed in two afternoons if you pace yourself correctly. I found it very difficult to put the book down when the real world needed my attention.
It’s thrilling, lyrical and lovely. Exactly the type of read that lovers of the ocean will appreciate.
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