top of page

Book Review: Rising Water by Casandra Chesser

One of the best parts about jumping into the writing community is the opportunity to read new books from writers I actually communicate with. The world of indie writing and self-publishing is a magical place. And the talent that some of these authors display is impeccable.

I know, I know. But Shell...where have you even been? You're silent for months and all of sudden you're doing book reviews? Welp, yep. That's actually where I've been.

I'll tap into this a little more in the near future, but my work with Moms Who Write has really picked up. I've been buried (in the best way) among work to help support my fellow writer moms to live their dreams, access resources, stay on course to achieve their dreams. My social work heart to advocate for others has been kicked back into high speed.

It's also possible that among the madness, I may have forgotten about my own website.

Nevertheless, I'm back! And to celebrate, I'm sharing a new book review I recently wrote on Rising Water by Casandra Chesser. I'm hoping to do a lot more of these, especially on books from fellow mom writers and friends. Take a look:

Rising Water: A Mysterious Southern Tragedy

I’m a sucker for historical fiction and will proudly admit to being an ‘old soul’ born in the wrong century. I’m also a lover of mysteries, novels that keep you guessing until the end. The debut novel Rising Water by Casandra Chesser was a perfect mix.

In the first chapter, we learn about a gruesome crime at the Stonehill Estate in Georgia. The year is 1898, and a devastating hurricane has just blown through the coastal communities. However, some of the bodies found in the aftermath may not have been victims of the storm. Cassandra reveals just enough to get you hooked, crafting a haunting narrative that keeps you turning pages.

I think I’ll go to 1896 Boston...

Casandra then takes us into the grand world of Boston socialite Gemma Roberts. As an eligible young woman entering the courting season, the stress of finding a husband is insufferable. Forced to endure an extravagant life of balls, dinner parties, and social calls, Gemma is less than thrilled by the competition of Boston courtship.

Aside from sparring with the other Boston socialites, Gemma must seek a husband worthy enough to fulfill her father’s high expectations. Just when she’s decided she’d rather live a life of solitude, she meets the mysterious William Bennett, who is a handsome sugar tycoon from Georgia and the heir to Stonehill Estate.

Lost in the romance…

At one point, I was so involved in the romantic potential between Gemma and William I almost forgot about what was to come. When the couple finally departed Boston, I was once again engrossed in the tragedy of Stonehill Estate. There, we meet the rest of the Bennetts; a respected family deeply rooted in the sugar cane industry, with a peculiar history of tragedies. Gemma cannot help but investigate.

As if the characters were right there…

One of my favorite parts about Rising Water by Casandra Chesser (aside from the mystery) was the authentic dialogue between characters. I’ve groaned through many books on account of awkward conversations, pulled right of the story by forced interactions. Cassandra’s dialogue has a spectacular way of pulling you in.

Her characters speak with period-appropriate language, which made me feel like a witness to the plot, not a reader. I could almost feel the uneven cobblestone paths of Boston beneath my feet. Then, I was walking the ground of Stonehill Estate, sugar cane stalks brushing against me as I eavesdropped on secret conversations.

A mystery worth picking up…

Crafting a believable mystery can be challenging. Your reader may find your plot boring if you give up too much too soon. However, if you hide too much and drop a bomb at the very end, your reader feels tricked.

Cassandra does a beautiful job of feeding you bits and pieces of this haunting tale until the final chapters. As soon as Gemma arrived in Georgia I was racing through to the end. I had to know more about the haunting history of Stonehill Estate, the ghostly whispers at night, the scratching noises from behind the walls. Casandra did not disappoint.

Pick up Rising Water by Casandra Chesser

If you’re looking for a historical mystery to curl up to this winter, add Rising Water to your list. For more information on Casandra Chesser, follow her on Instagram.

Thanks for being here.




The Writer

Welcome! I'm a poet, author, mother, and dreamer of creative works, sharing my writing journey for all to see. My work is raw, honest, and not always pretty. I cover the darker elements of motherhood and being a woman, finding beauty in the shadows despite the smoke screens we like to build to shield them. 
Take a look around–I'm so happy you're here.

Let the journey
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

Support My Journey

Indie authors are nothing without the support of their community. Here are a few ways you can support me in my creative endeavors!

Pango Books

Help get rid of all these used books around my house.


Look out for upcoming projects posted on Kickstarter.

Buy a Coffee

Keep my creative juices flowing...or keep me alive. 

bottom of page