Five stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ to Stillwaters, by Jennifer Brasington-Crowley. Note, the author’s third book in the series (Nightingale) was just released – this a perfect time to start the trilogy!
Find Stillwaters here: https://www.amazon.com/Stillwaters-Jennifer-Brasington-Crowley-ebook/dp/B08B3HZ915/
Time and time again, I’m awed by how author Jennifer Brasington-Crowley can take a difficult subject and turn it into relevant art. Her exceptional writing allows the reader to experience a deeply emotional journey from the safety of their own personal space. Some readers will feel “things” more than others. Some will want different futures for her characters. Some readers will laugh, others will cry. But all readers will walk away from a Brasington-Crowley book changed.
Last week I finished reading Stillwaters – the first installment in her three-book Stillwaters Series. Already a fan of her Raven Song Series, I wanted to dive into this other world for comparison.
Unsurprisingly, I was immediately drawn into this new storyline where we meet likeable protagonist Jonathan Sharpe, a tragic figure with an unusual affliction. We’re also introduced to Cayman Stillwater – the honest, everyday woman who’s just trying to make the best of her life. Through their shared secrets, Cayman proves to be Jonathan’s soulmate, maybe even the other half of his soul. With an element of the paranormal afoot, we explore the mysterious world of dreams and what our roles are in the dramas that play out while we’re sleeping.
A standout in this book was the setting of the story, and how the author managed to keep it small while the characters dealt with such a big problem. This can be difficult to accomplish since many of today’s readers are used to being pulled all over a novel’s world in some sort of epic adventure.
Brasington-Crowley, however, can make a story epic in such a small space without drifting into hyperbole. And in fact, the author’s talent shines in Stillwaters because it IS a huge drama but written in such a quiet way that we’re pulled closer to the page, listening intently to the thoughts of her protagonist (Sharpe) and the dialogue between her characters. We still ourselves to better hear the worries whispered into our brains by the author. The balance between such a weighty topic and the gentle – but troublesome – way in which it unfolds was beautifully crafted.
As readers we bring our own lenses to the books we read. Some books stick a finger in old wounds and stir up difficult feelings. This is the risk we take as booklovers. After finishing Stillwaters, I wanted to give myself a few days to think about the story and what memories it stirred up inside me. This is the gift we receive when reading an exceptional novel. We can take our thoughts and “their thoughts” (the characters) and think about what we feel and why we feel it.
Very few books have left their footprints across my heart in the way Stillwaters did. If you are a fan of Lisa Van Allen (The Night Garden); Juliet Blackwell (her “in France” standalone novels); or Sarah Addison Allen (in particular, Lost Lake), you will absolutely love reading Brasington-Crowley’s Stillwaters.