Review by Booklist Review
In the shadow of an old lighthouse on the Pacific coast, seven generations of women have all been affected by a family curse in their own ways. They are drawn to and terrified of the ocean, the source of heartbreak and tragedy for women of their line. Meredith Strand, who fled to the East Coast as a young woman, returns home to Cape Disappointment with her daughter, Alice, in tow, seeking refuge from her impending divorce. Meredith's mother, Judith, struggles with memory as her belief in the curse seems to govern her life and choices. When Judith is taken by the sea and Alice disappears, Meredith must face a mysterious adversary to rescue her daughter and break the curse's pattern of misfortune for both of them and the future of their family. More than a century of loss related by narrators from different generations, combined with a malevolent ghost, gives this gothic read plenty of appeal for horror fans, while the family drama will compel readers of women's fiction.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Monroe's brooding modern gothic debut delivers a generation-spanning account of one family grappling with the inescapable specter of grief. When Meredith separates from her wife to return to Cape Disappointment, a former mermaid-centric tourist trap, she and her seven-year-old daughter, Alice, are welcomed back into her childhood home by her mother, Judith. But with three generations of Strands gathered back together in a seaside town whose water holds centuries-old secrets--teased out in flashbacks to 1881--Meredith must uncover the truth about the real curse of Cape Disappointment, or lose everything to the grasping waves. Monroe does an excellent job interweaving time periods and character arcs to create a rich, complex picture of intergenerational trauma, and Meredith's relationships with her mother and daughter make the present feel vital. Clunky exposition occasionally hampers the story's ability to integrate so many moving parts into a cohesive narrative, but the atmosphere remains as chilly and gripping as an ocean wind as the story drives toward its haunting conclusion. Fans of Silvia Moreno-Garcia should check this out. Agent: Joanna MacKenzie, Nelson Literary. (July)
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