A landscape of myth and mystery is interwoven with rural life in South West Scotland in 1928-1942. Helena Hailstanes is sick of the secluded life her father, Sam, forces her to live on the shores of Loch Duie. She runs away and encounters Megan, who as a muddled and meddling young Sea Witch cursed Helena and Sam, creatures of an ancient race of shape-shifting otters, to remain in human form. With Megan in her life again, this time meaning well but causing chaos, Helena embarks on a course with the potential to harm both herself and others. It is the discovery of her true nature which is her salvation, as Helena chooses to make her way in the world on her own inimitable terms.
“This lovely, tangled narrative draws us into a magical world and convinces us to remain. The fluidity to the language pulls us along in a current where good and evil are entwined; the story is told in a simple, direct, persuasive way so that we are compelled to believe in it.”
-Alan Smith, Author
“If you thought young-adult fiction had no new tales left to tell about strange, shapeshifting creatures, then think again, because you won’t have read a novel as wonderfully different as The Water Bailiff’s Daughter. And I’m sure you’ve never come across a character to compare with Helena Hailstanes: part-witch, part-otter, part-human… 100% extraordinary heroine.”
-Martyn Bedford, author of Flip, shortlisted for the
Costa Children’s Book Award