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The Tale of Truthwater Lake

Book Synopsis

On one side of the underwater street is the remains of a house… It’s beautiful here, and eerie, a lost kingdom, a ghost village…

It’s the near-future and Britain is having yet another heatwave. Of course, the government have put in the normal curfews for this kind of weather, and shops are forced to shut again. For Polly, it’s the sort of heat that makes her do wild, out-of-character things just to cool down.

Like face her fear of deepwater. Essential when she and her brother have been sent to their aunt’s eco lake-side house for the summer.

But Truthwater Lake is beginning to dry up. As the water level diminishes, a lost village emerges. Swimming over the rooftops at midnight, Polly dives down and is suddenly able to breathe, to hear church bells and bird song… Polly has discovered an underwater gateway… to the past!

Our Review Panel says...

Emma Carroll never fails to disappoint. The Tale of Truthwater Lake is a gripping and fast paced adventure story, set in part, in the future and in part in the past.

The story revolves around Polly and her brother, Joel who are growing up in 2032 when climate change is causing a prolonged summer heatwave, with daily government warnings sent to warn people to stay indoors. The children live with their parents in a small flat in Brighton and are sent away to their aunt’s house in the country for a few weeks in the summer holiday – although not before Polly has to be rescued by her brother from a late night swim resulting in some online bullying.

Their aunt, Jessie lives by a reservoir but in the drought, it has shrunk to reveal the village, Syndercombe that was flooded in the 1950’s to enable the flooded valley to become a reservoir. What ensues is a story of time travel, with Polly being transported back in time (through the magic of 2 AM swims and an old door handle) to the weeks before the flooding of the village. Polly inhabits the life of Nellie, a young orphan with great ambition. Nellie, is a fabulous swimmer and dreams of swimming the English Channel, but her chance is taken away by a young boy called Nate, who is the son of the man brought in to organise the evacuation and flooding of the village.

There are so many twists and turns of this adventure, with friendship, bullying, the climate, old age and even parenting, making it a story to read rather than describe! Emma Carroll paints a real and vivid picture of each character and scene and evokes empathy, excitement and suspense in every chapter.

The story reaches an exciting climax when Nellie does in fact swim the Channel and is a real page turner in the build-up, swim and aftermath of her achievement. Emma Carroll is a master of happy endings – tying up loose ends, resolving all of the problems raised in the story and by bringing together estranged characters. This is a great book for an upper KS2 primary classroom.

This book is available on these booklists:

The Tale of Truthwater Lake: Teacher Pack

A teaching resource pack provided by the publisher to accompany the book The Tale of Truthwater Lake.

The Tale of Truthwater Lake

the tale of truthwater lake

Book Details

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