It is 1936 in a remote dale in the old, northern county of Westmorland. For centuries the rural community has remained the same and the Lightburn family have been immersed in the harsh hill-farming tradition - unchanged by the advent of modernity. Then a man from the city of Manchester arrives, spokesman for a vast industrial project which will devastate both the landscape and the local community. Mardale will be flooded to create a new reservoir, supplying water to the Midland cities. In the coming year this corner of Lakeland will be evacuated and transformed.
Jack Liggett, the Waterworks' representative, further compounds the problems faced by the village as he begins a troubled affair with Janet Lightburn. A woman of force and strength of mind, her natural orthodoxy deeply influences him. Finally, in tragic circumstances, a remarkable, desperate act on Janet's part attempts to restore the valley to its former state.
Told in luminous prose with an intuitive sense for period and place, Haweswater remembers a rural England that has been disappearing for decades. It is a novel about love, obsession and the destruction of a community, told with grace and artistry by a young storyteller of great imaginative and emotional power.