This is a synopsis of the novel on which I am currently working. It is a ghost story intended for readers aged 12+.
‘They just need to know we remember them…’ Fourteen year old Lily, struggling to fit in with her new life on the North Norfolk coast, starts to hear voices drifting in from the sea, just after the dramatic spring tides.
Full of grief after caring for her husband during his slow and painful decline from a brain tumour, Lily’s mother, Grace, sold the home where they had once been happy and moved to an old fisherman’s cottage.
Walking her dog Jasper on the beach, Lily hears a high, keening chorus drifting in from the sea and is engulfed by a sudden sea mist. She’s not the only one to hear voices; their neighbour, Sonny, is also on the beach. When she goes to his house to check on him, she discovers he was a hero in the 1953 floods.
Lily fancies local boy, Danny, and is thrilled when he promises to help her improve her maths; it looks like their friendship could develop into something more. At the same time, Lily gets a job babysitting six-year-old John and discovers that she likes the unusual boy, with his interest in meteorology and astronomy. He tells her that he sees the ghosts of dripping wet children who come in to shore at high tide.
Lily is stalked by spectral voices and by a new girl in her class, Rosie, who is reputed to be a vicious bully but hides her own turmoil of haunting dreams and abuse by her cruel stepfather.
Lily realises that, in order to be free of the ghosts, she needs John and Rosie to help her work out who the voices belong to. They find out that they are the ghosts of children who drowned in a flood during the great storm of 1287. They were locked in the church because the villagers believed it was the safest place. However, it was engulfed by the sea along with the rest of the village of Waxham Parva. The ghosts want Lily and her friends to search for an ancient key that will release them from the church.
Just as Lily’s friendships are growing and strengthening, her relationship with Grace begins to crack, until Grace helps Rosie – and Sonny helps Lily and her friends find the key.
They gather on the beach at high tide, but the ghosts don’t just want the key – they also need someone to open the door. Before they can stop him, John steps into the sea with the key and Lily tries to save him from drowning, while Rosie watches from the beach. Danny dives in to help but is swept away by the strong tide. They are all relieved when the lifeboat crew discovers his almost lifeless body.
When social services reunite Rosie with her grandmother in Norwich, the girls vow to stay friends.