December 16, 2020

Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

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.

I’ve always been a sucker for romance, and I’ve always been a bookworm. Therefore, a novel that involves romance between two bookworms sounded like my cup of tea. But maybe I’m condensing the plot of Words in Deep Blue by author Cath Crowley a bit too much. This novel was one that offered a unique concept, and included a potential friends-to-lovers romance that I couldn’t help but fall for.

                One of the things that makes Words in Deep Blue such a charming read is the use of the second-hand bookstore and all the stories told on the shelves. Not just the stories in the second-hand books, but the stories written by readers on the pages. I loved the idea of two people reading a book at different times, writing notes (and even love notes) to one another, sometimes revealing their identities, and sometimes not. There’s something so hopelessly romantic about that concept, and it definitely hooked me.

                Words in Deep Blue also deals with a very, very angsty pair of characters. We have Rachel, whose brother has just died, and who is returning home for the first time since her best friend rejected her. And we have Henry, said rejector, whose girlfriend has just left him. Now, the pair are working together in Henry’s family’s second-hand bookstore and… you can already imagine where this is all going, can’t you?

                I’m a sucker for romance, especially the kind that is filled with emotional conflict and drama. The relationship between Rachel and Henry is one that I fell for head-over-heels. I couldn’t get enough of not only their banter, but also their interactions. There was definitely something about the realistic way Crowley wrote their characters that made them feel like they could burst off the page at any moment. For me, these two definitely stole the show.

                The pacing throughout Words in Deep Blue was consistent for the most part. I enjoyed the story, and was constantly guessing at what twists would come next in the plot. Words in Deep Blue was a love story that maintained my interest and attention throughout. I couldn’t get enough.

                All in all, I would recommend Words in Deep Blue to any readers who are looking for a romance that will have them turning pages. Any readers who are looking for a novel that is angsty and dramatic, and for any readers who are looking for a love story grounded in reality, should definitely give Words in Deep Blue a try.

I write fiction for young adults — the latest book is Take Three Girls, co-written with Fiona Wood and Simmone Howell. Fiona, Simmone and I are very proud to have won the CBCA Book of the Year Award for Older Readers in 2018.

Other books of mine include Words in Deep Blue, Graffiti Moon, Chasing Charlie Duskin, the Gracie Faltrain trilogy and Rosie Staples’ Minor Magical Misunderstanding.

When I’m not writing, I read a lot.

I teach Fiction for Young Adults at RMIT. I’ve taught Short Story, Writing Fiction and Novel at Victoria University. I’ve taught English in high schools, tutored privately, and run creative writing workshops all over Australia. I mentor writers and conduct manuscript assessments.

I also run Writing and Wellness Retreats with Alison Arnold. Alison is a freelance editor and writer. She edited The Rosie Project, among many other books.

1 Comment

  1. Ethan

    You really can’t go wrong with a cute romance set in a book store!

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