The Well

A Novel

The Well

Read by: Nicola Barber
From the winner of the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, a brilliantly haunting and suspenseful debut set in modern-day Britain where water is running out everywhere except at The Well—the farm of one seemingly ordinary family whose mysterious good fortune leads to suspicion, chaos, and ultimately a shocking act of violence.

Ruth Ardingly has just been released from prison to serve out a sentence of house arrest for arson and suspected murder at her farm, The Well. Beyond its borders, some people whisper she is a witch; others a messiah. For as soon as Ruth returns to The Well, rain begins to fall on the farm. And it has not rained anywhere else in the country in over three years.

Ruth and her husband Mark had moved years before from London to this ancient idyll in the hopes of starting their lives over. But then the drought began, and as the surrounding land dried up and died, and The Well grew lush and full of life, they came to see their fortune would come at a price. From the envy of their neighbors to the mandates of the government, from the fanaticism of a religious order called the Sisters of the Rose to the everyday difficulties of staying close as husband and wife, mother and child—all these forces led to a horrifying crime: the death of their seven-year-old grandson, drowned with cruel irony in one of the few ponds left in the countryside.

Now back at The Well, Ruth must piece together the tragedy that shattered her marriage, her family, and her dream. For she believes her grandson’s death was no accident, and that the murderer is among the people she trusted most. Alone except for her guards on a tiny green jewel in a world rapidly turning to dust, Ruth begins to confront her worst fears and learns what really happened in the dark heart of The Well.

A tour de force about ordinary people caught in the tide of an extraordinary situation, Catherine Chanter’s The Well is a haunting, beautifully written, and utterly believable novel that probes the fragility of our personal relationships and the mystical connection between people and the places they call home.
This Edition:
9781442382749 Unabridged Audio Download $23.99 Simon & Schuster Audio May 19, 2015
Other US Editions:
9781476772776 Trade Paperback $16.00 Washington Square Press March 01, 2016
9781476772783 eBook $1.99 Atria Books May 19, 2015
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Introduction

Ruth Ardingly has just been released from prison to serve out a sentence of house arrest for arson and suspected murder at her farm, The Well. Beyond its borders, some people whisper she is a witch; others, a savior. For as soon as Ruth returns to The Well, rain begins to fall on the farm. And it has not rained anywhere else in the country in over three years as Britain has been wracked by a terrible drought.

Ruth and her husband, Mark, had moved years before from London to this ancient idyll in the hopes of starting their lives over. But then the drought began, and as the surrounding land dried up and died, The Well grew lush and full of life. The rain was both a blessing and a curse, bringing new life and the promise of a simpler life built by their own hands, but also bringing envious neighbors and government mandates, and the fanaticism of a religious order called the Sisters of the Rose. Ruth fought to protect her marriage, her home, and her family in the midst of this desperate and confounding time—but in one devastating night, a horrifying crime destroys all that Ruth has sought to protect.

Now back at The Well, Ruth must piece together the tragedy that shattered her marriage, her family, and her dream. Alone except for her guards on a tiny green jewel in a world rapidly turning to dust, Ruth begins to confront her worst fears and uncovers the secrets of what really happened that tragic night at The Well.

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About the Author

Catherine Chanter
© Gaby Gerster/laif/Redux

Catherine Chanter

Catherine Chanter is a teacher, poet, and short story writer. She is the winner of the Yeovil Poetry Prize and the Lucy Cavendish Prize awarded by Cambridge University. She grew up in the West Country before attending Oxford. The Well is her first novel.

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