Haweswater starts with a violent birth, includes a flood, and ends not long after an explosion. Yet, it is not a book that fits into the adventure genre. The story takes place in, and around, the town of Mardale, which really did exist. So did the Haweswater dam, a structure that takes on epic proportions in the story. Yet, this book could not truly be described as historical fiction.
Instead, it is an incredibly compelling work of fiction about the interconnections between people and the land they live on. I found myself falling into the story and wishing I could walk around the landscape described within it.
The main character is a woman named Janet. The author, Sarah Hall, built this character from an old legend about a mysterious woman named Janet Tree. Fiction and reality are intertwined like the roots of a plant in this beautiful, tragic, book.