The Tale of Truthwater Lake is a gripping time-slip adventure which blends the past and the near-future perfectly in a story of enduring friendship, courage and resilience.
It’s summer 2032 and 12-year-old Polly is living with the consequences of climate change where temperatures regularly exceed 42 degrees leading to a curfew where she and her older brother, Joel are stuck inside their small flat in Brighton. Unable to sleep due to the heat, she discovers her brother going for a night swim and, although she is not a confident swimmer, she goes too, leading to a situation which both of them are keen to escape from … and escape they do … to their Aunt Jessie’s eco-house in Exmoor which looks on to Truthwater Lake.
Due to the excessive heat, Truthwater Lake is drying up, revealing the remains of the old village of Syndercombe which was flooded in the early 1950s to make a reservoir to supply water. Drawn to the sight of the old church under the water, Polly swims towards it, her feet touching the roof tiles … and finds herself in a past time where she is Nellie Foster.
Nellie, unlike Polly, is an avid swimmer and dreams of swimming the English Channel. She is also going to have to leave her village as it is being flooded to make a reservoir. Can Nellie fulfil her dream before her village is lost? I loved being swept into Nellie’s exciting challenge, as she, her best friend Lena and new friend, Nate work together to make history.
This is such a brilliant, timely and thought-provoking story that completely absorbed me as I followed the friends plans for their Channel swimming challenge, the drowning of a village, and Polly’s discoveries in her present … such incredible secrets revealed … and the most wonderful heart-warming ending.
Whilst this is a story mostly set in the past, the part set in the near-future feels prescient, and will open up lots of opportunity for discussion about climate change.
This is a mesmerising tale, masterfully told: a tale of truth, friendship and change. Perfect for readers of 9+.
Thank you to Bethany Carter and Faber & Faber Limited for an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.