Catherine Chanter was born and raised in the West Country. She has written for Radio Four and has had short stories and poetry published in a wide range of anthologies and publications. She won the Yeovil Poetry Prize in 2010. Catherine has a Masters, with distinction, in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. The Well is her first novel, won the 2013 Lucy Cavendish Prize for Unpublished Fiction and has been longlisted for the 2015 CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger.
When she was sixteen, Diana left her unhappy family and set out to make a new life. Twenty-five years later, she has arrived. Recently married to Edmund, she lives with him at his family's historic country home. But when Diana hears that her mother has died, she impulsively asks estranged half-sister Valerie and her nine-year-old son to stay. The night of the funeral, fueled by wine and years of resentment, the sisters argue and a terrible accident occurs. The foundations of a well-ordered life start to crack and the lies begin to surface, one dangerous secret after another. And then there's the boy, watching, waiting. The Half Sister is a profound and haunting portrayal of those who are imprisoned by their past and by the struggle to find the words which will release them.
A RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB READ AN OBSERVER NEW FACE OF FICTION 2015 A HUFFINGTON POST 'ONE TO WATCH IN 2015' LONGLISTED FOR THE CWA JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER 2015 'I was gripped by Catherine Chanter's The Well immediately. The beauty of her prose is riveting, the imagery so assured. This is an astonishing debut' Sarah Winman, author of When God was a Rabbit 'I loved this book!' JESSIE BURTON, author of The Miniaturist When Ruth Ardingly and her family first drive up from London in their grime-encrusted car and view The Well, they are enchanted by a jewel of a place, a farm that appears to offer everything the family are searching for. An opportunity for Ruth. An escape for Mark. A home for their grandson Lucien. But The Well's unique glory comes at a terrible price. The locals suspect foul play in its verdant fields and drooping fruit trees, and Ruth becomes increasingly isolated as she struggles to explain why her land flourishes whilst her neighbours' produce withers and dies. Fearful of envious locals and suspicious of those who seem to be offering help, Ruth is less and less sure who she can trust. As The Well envelops them, Ruth's paradise becomes a prison, Mark's dream a recurring nightmare, and Lucien's playground a grave.
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 Wellthe 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 childall 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 grandsons 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 Chanters 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.