Psychological thrillers have been all the rage recently, beloved for their ability to grab your attention from the very first pages, pull you in, and become so intertwined and twisted that you’re forced to second-guess yourself… and Downton Abbey actress Catherine Steadman has done just that in her fast-moving, debut novel Something in the Water.

Erin, a filmmaker in the middle of making a documentary of people in prison – which has the potential to be her professional breakthrough moment – and Mark, a good-looking investment banker with big plans for the future, are traveling in the beautiful and exotic Bora Bora for their dream honeymoon. Passionately in love, they can imagine nothing better than the sun, sand, and each other.

But one day, during a secluded scuba diving day trip, the couple discovers something in the water that no good could ever have come from. Forced to make a choice about whether to come forward or keep the secret, the perfect lives they envisioned for themselves will never look the same.

Having trained at the Oxford School of Drama before starring in half a dozen plays and movies – including the role of Mabel Lane Fox on Downton Abbey – writing may not have been an addition career that Steadman planned on having, but it’s one that it’s clear she’s gifted at. Similar to debut authors Tara Isabella Burton and Christine Mangan, Steadman is a debut author who writes like she’s been doing it for years, and her novel is well deserving of the good press it’s received.

Drawing you in from the very first sentence – the book actually starts with one of the main characters digging a grave – it only continues to get more intriguing, and becomes a nice twist on the typical psychological thriller. Questioning just how driven in the right direction our moral compasses when something more alluring is right around the corner, elements of greed, curiosity, secrets and love make it obvious why this book is the latest pick for Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. 

Something in the Water is now available for purchase.


Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London, UK. She has appeared in leading roles on British television as well as on stage in the West End. In 2016 she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Oppenheimer. She is best known in the United States for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey. She grew up in the New Forest, UK, and lives with a small dog and an average-sized man. Something in the Water is her first novel.