Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on 30th August 2016
Boffins, Dymocks, Booktopia, Publisher
This is a love story.
It's the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It's the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she's back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.
There aren’t enough words in the English dictionary to accurate describe how wonderful this novel is, but I’m going to try my best. Because this is a book where words can’t do it justice – you have to read it to experience its beauty. Cath Crowley shows just how much of a natural storyteller she is by really getting to the heart of every book lover and explaining why literature and words are so important, so revered.
Words in Deep Blue is, at heart, many things. It’s a love story. It’s about family, and relationships between friends. It’s about not necessarily letting go of the past and moving on, but accepting it and conquering life when road blocks pop up. And it is so, so much more than that. The central point of Words is Howling Books, the secondhand bookstore Henry’s family owns. The plot itself is simple and short – in a time when books are considered to be a dying art form (ha!), Henry’s family must decide whether to keep or selling the secondhand bookshop that is an integral part of their lives – and the lives of so many others.
From here we have our two main characters, Henry and Rachel, who were best friends once, until time and distance drew them apart. When Rachel moves back to the city, a different person than she was before, her life is entwined with Henry’s once again, and it’s from here we have this beautiful story.
Cath Crowley’s writing is positively magical in this book, and if you’re a person who loves words and books and poetry and just literature in general, than this is one for you. And what really made me love this book even more is that I’m not a poetry person – in fact, I abhor most poetry (it’s been the bane of my existence this semester). But there’s one poem I love, and I’ve loved for years, and it’s probably the only one I’ll ever love, and I’ve never been able to explain exactly why I love it – until Words in Deep Blue came along. You see, that poem is The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock by TS Eliot, and it features heavily in Words, as Henry’s favourite (great choice, Henry). And it’s Henry’s explanation to Rachel that makes me realise why I love this poem so much:
And in talking about Cath’s amazing way with words, it shines through her characters. Rachel is very easy to fall in love with – her past is sadly tragic, and we all love a jilted heroine trying to be stronger than the people who sought to tear her down. I loved seeing her take back control of her life, to find meaning and passion past her brother. And Henry, God it was so easy to hate him at times, but even then one of the great things about this novel was not just Rachel finding herself, but Henry too. And Henry opening his eyes to the world and past his own little sphere.
I know this book isn’t out in the States until next year, when you get an amazingly pretty hardcover of your own, but if you get the chance to read Words in Deep Blue, I implore you to pick it up and savour it. Enjoy the magic and power of words – because you won’t regret it. At all.