Words In Deep Blue & Question Time with Cath Crowley

Words In Deep Blue
Written by Cath Crowley
Contemporary, Romance, #LoveOzYA
Published August 30th 2016
352 Pages
★★★★★
This is a love story.

It's the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets, to words.

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. She's looking for the future in the books people love, and the words that they leave behind.
It's been three long years since Rachel had left Gracetown, with an inked farewell left within the pages of the Letter Library at Howling Books, where you'll find Henry lying within the self help guides and pondering the greater meaning of life. Within the isles, over two decades of history lies in the margins of books. Friends, lovers and strangers find kindred spirits and understanding. Although Henry will never understand why Rachel hadn't said goodbye.

Losing her brother to the ocean they had both so dearly loved, Rachel was desperate to escape the reminder of her grief and return to the city, where both Rachel and her brother we raised, Howling Books their second home. Living with her childless Aunt, Rachel plans on making a fresh start which doesn't include forgiving Henry who had broken her heart. Difficult seeing her only job prospects include cleaning toilets or cataloging for Howling Books, working side by side with Henry.

The Letter Library is a place for former loves, young love and lost love to reunite between the margins, but as the business begins to lose considerable amounts of money both Rachel and Henry may realise that love isn't always enough.

My Thoughts

Words in Deep Blue was a beautiful and incredibly charming read of the exploration of love and its many facets. Rachel is grieving, her brother drowned eight months prior to her return and unable to face the sound of lapping waves from the home she shares with both her mother and grandmother. She still carries the anguish of her last goodbye, having fallen in love with her best friend Henry, penning a confession left in the Letter Library that was never answered. Rachel is a wonderful character who is deeply mourning for her loss. She still carries the hurt of her unanswered declaration of love for Henry, but is adamant she's no longer in love with her childhood friend. 

Henry has spent the last three years in a tumultuous relationship with Amy, a narcissistic girl who cares little for anyone but herself. Henry is an incredibly passionate reader, intelligent and charming but allows himself to be manipulated, now his relationship has just ended for the umteenth time. As the Rachel and Henry begin to rekindle their friendship, the storyline shifts to include bookstore regulars such as elderly Frederick who is searching for a specific Walcott edition, Martin who is a casual employee tasked with cataloguing stock and George, Henry's younger sister who's mistrust and discontent as a result of being bullied for her unique sense of style and reading.

Words In Deep Blue is a legacy for lovers of the written word. For readers who find themselves within ink pages breathing in the scent of romance. The Letter Library was captivating. A destination for those wanting to share their thoughts and affections within the margins and none more so than Henry's sister George, who uses the Letter Library as an avenue to express herself without the fear of condemnation.
Martin
Fuck off and stop writing to me.
George.

Dear George
I'm not fucking off. I'm your friend. Friends don't fuck off. And by the way, friends don't tell each other to fuck off, either.
Martin

Martin
Fuck. Off.
George
Howling Books provides a safe environment where judgements are cast aside for the love of words. But like so many of our independent bookstores, Howling Books relies on the patronage of locals and the bookstore is on the verge of becoming financially unviable. An incredibly important message for readers to support their local bookstores. Not only are a third of bookstores in Australia independently owned, but Australia also had the largest number of independent small business bookstores in the English speaking world and although fictional, Howling Books represents the need for local patronage to support small business, local publishers, authors and our industry.

It was achingly beautiful and incredibly emotional. Cath Crowley is Australia's premier young adult author, creating realistic characters and an engaging storyline that will hold dear for generations to come.

Question Time with Cath Crowley

Words in Deep Blue takes place within Howling Books, a quaint little bookstore with a rich history of bringing strangers, friends and lovers together. Do you remember your first bookshop experience and what impact, if any, that has had on you as an author?

This is a great question. I have a strong memory of buying one book every week with my pocket money, reading it that night, and then being desperate for the next Friday to arrive so I could buy the next one in the series. I can’t remember the name of the bookstore, but I remember that feeling of excitement. I also remember the first time I walked into The Sun Bookshop in Yarraville. It’s a gorgeous store, with a spectacular range.

With so many readers turning to the convenience of electronic books, how important is it for readers to support their local bookstores?

I think it’s hugely important to support your local bookstore. I don’t want to imagine world without physical bookshops. I love walking into The Sun Bookshop, choosing books they’ve recommended (the staff picks are always brilliant). I love them as a reader, but also as a writer. My book gets bought because people hand sell them. Local bookstores are hubs of stories. We need more of them.

The Letter Library is a beautiful declaration of romance throughout the storyline, combining the scent of inked pages and the lost artistry of letter writing. What was your inspiration behind the concept?

I keep trying to remember the moment when I came up with the idea for the Letter Library. I knew I wanted the book to be about the things we find in books, about the messages we leave for strangers, and the parts of ourselves that we leave behind. I love the idea that some things are left and found by chance, but I knew I needed a more practical way for people to exchange letters. Once the idea came to me, I loved the idea that a shop would set aside books to be loved.

If you could write your own message for a stranger to find in the Letter Library, what would be your legacy?

I’ve left a lot of letters in books around the city – I’ve left poems and small notes, and longer letters for people to find. All of them, in some way, hold in them a love for words. Like Henry says, I love books down to the full stops because they change people. They make life less hard, more beautiful, they connect people. They force us to question the future, and interrogate ourselves. I’m not sure I’ll have a legacy, but I’d like that to be what people get from Words in Deep Blue.

About Cath

Cath Crowley is a young adult author published in Australia and internationally. She is the author of The Gracie Faltrain trilogy, Chasing Charlie Duskin, and Graffiti Moon. In 2011, Graffiti Moon won the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, the Ethel Turner Award for Young People's Literature, and was named an honour book in the Children's Book Council, Book of the Year. Cath writes and teaches in Melbourne. Her new book will be published in 2016.

You can find Cath by visiting her Website  Twitter  Goodreads  Facebook and on Instagram

23 comments

  1. Wonderful review and interview! Loved that little back and forth between Martin and George. I MUST GET MY HANDS ON A COPY! That will be my mission for this weekend! I can tell this book is going to make me cry, but it’ll be worth it!

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    1. It's worth each and every moment Sarah, it's one of my favourite reads this year. It's one of those books written for readers, so incredibly beautiful too. Can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  2. In the nicest way possible, I hate you a little for reading this already :)
    Graffiti Moon was one of the first ARC's I read and it's still one of my favorite books. I'm so buying this when it's finally released in the US! Lovely review Kelly!

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

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    1. I believe it'll be released next year, but you could probably snare a Kindle copy on Amazon before that. Let me know if you want me to purchase and gift it to you. I think Graffiti Moon was one of the first #LoveOzYA titles I read when I begun reading again after a long long hiatus and I completely fell in love. Aussie authors are taking over the world!

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  3. Oh, I love this! I love reading books that really showcase the love of reading and books and the written word. Thanks for sharing your review and the interview. I really must read this one!

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    1. Everyone should read this one Lauren, it's such a beautifully emotional read that was just so wonderfully written. Have you read Graffiti Moon? That book is brilliant as well.

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  4. Cath Crowley seems like a wonderful author, and i love that's left all these letters in books around Melbourne herself!

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    1. Isn't it such a beautiful idea. I would love to visit more second hand bookstores for that very reason. Books have such a rich history and for every person who has read that particular book might leave a little part of their own history behind. Underlining a passage, a movie ticket as a bookmark.

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  5. How could someone like Henry even be in a relationship with a girl like Amy? BTW sounds like a nice read :)
    Haniya
    booknauthors.blogspot.com

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    1. It's a wonderful read Haniya and I was thinking the same. She was so incredibly narcissistic and I think Henry was blinded by an attractive girl who wanted him. Thankfully he sees the error of his ways.

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  6. I love Cath Crowley. Do you know if this book is going to have a North American publication date? I would love to read it.

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    1. It is Joy. I seen on Twitter that I believe Random House might have the rights, but it won't be released until later in 2017 unfortunately. It's well worth getting your hands on a copy though, such a remarkable read!

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  7. I love the sound of the Letter Library and how it's set in a bookstore, that's also a great letter that you included in your post Kelly! That's so lovely how Cath has left little notes for people to find in books herself. That's so beautiful.

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    1. Isn't it just! Imagine buying a book only to take it home and find a personal note from Cath in there. I'd probably swoon and faint. I've got a whole heap of books to donate to charity at the moment and have popped little swag items in there like bookmarks and stickers with little notes as well. I love the concept, such a lovely idea!

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  8. That cover though <3 Thank you for this beautiful review, added it onto my wish list!

    http://laxsourire.blogspot.my/

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    1. You'll absolutely adore this one Clara, it's so beautifully written. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

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  9. Sounds like such a great read! Added this to my tbr. Loved your review.

    - Poulami @ Daydreaming Books

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    1. Thanks Poulami and it truly is, one of my favourite reads. I'd love to see what you think of it.

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  10. This sounds like an amazing read Kelly! I love indie bookstores, but I haven't actually found one to call my own yet (though that is going to change since I just moved somewhere new). I just wish there were more around, but I know why there aren't many in the US.

    I'm excited that this book will be released in the US (I think next year?) so I will definitely be pre-ordering it!

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    1. I love the small, independent bookstores. They've got such a warm and inviting atmosphere rather than the big chain stores. The staff are always floating around and you could easily spend all day in there talking books, ships and characters. It's such a brilliant read. I've heard it's being released later in 2017 in the US, so definitely preorder a copy!

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  11. Everything about this book sounds fabulous and I want it on my shelves now! Now I just have to wait if it gets a wider release or not because currently I can't find it anywhere. I just like the idea of writing to others because we don't do that enough anymore.

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    1. I love the lost art of letter writing too, there's something so personable and romantic about taking the time to put pen to paper and let it all spill out. I think that might have a lot to do with the reinsurgence of journalistic now too. It's out now in Australia, but later in 2017 in he US. A brilliant read packed full of breathtaking words.

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  12. I can’t wait to read it, Kelly. I loved Graffiti Moon. And I love the whole concept leaving letters and notes it books.

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