Friday, February 1, 2013

Review: The Drowning House by Elizabeth Black

Publisher: Nan A. Talese (Random House)
Pages: 288
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: January 15, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A gripping suspense story about a woman who returns to Galveston, Texas after a personal tragedy and is irresistibly drawn into the insular world she’s struggled to leave.

Photographer Clare Porterfield's once-happy marriage is coming apart, unraveling under the strain of a family tragedy. When she receives an invitation to direct an exhibition in her hometown of Galveston, Texas, she jumps at the chance to escape her grief and reconnect with the island she hasn't seen for ten years. There Clare will have the time and space to search for answers about her troubled past and her family's complicated relationship with the wealthy and influential Carraday family.

Soon she finds herself drawn into a century-old mystery involving Stella Carraday. Local legend has it that Stella drowned in her family's house during the Great Hurricane of 1900, hanged by her long hair from the drawing room chandelier. Could Stella have been saved? What is the true nature of Clare's family's involvement? The questions grow like the wildflower vines that climb up the walls and fences of the island. And the closer Clare gets to the answers, the darker and more disturbing the truth becomes.

Steeped in the rich local history of GalvestonThe Drowning House portrays two families, inextricably linked by tragedy and time.

My Review:

I'm always intrigued by stories that deal with family secrets and mysteries, so the synopsis to THE DROWNING HOUSE definitely caught my attention. Sadly this book didn't really hit it's mark for me. The book felt longer for me than 300 pages because there was just so much happening and yet not much really going on at the same time. Readers are introduced to Clare and can see how she is struggling with her marriage because of this tragedy.

What really made this book difficult to read for me was how jumpy the writing style was. I felt that Black jumped back and forth between Clare dealing with her current problems and remembering her past, and what I found confusing is that readers are not taken back to the past in a chronological order, the story is always jumping around to different parts of the past. I felt confused at where I was with Clare often throughout the book.

I really enjoyed Black's descriptions throughout the story, the island and its inhabitants are very intriguing. I love small town type of novels where it is hard to keep a secret and yet there are still things hiding everywhere (in the case of this book all the secrets are in the past). Clare's character was interesting, and I found that Black really did a great job in getting her personality and her fears across to readers. I enjoyed that she is seen as distant and scared through her interactions with her camera, she always reaches for it when nervous and hides behind it so that people don't get to close. The one thing I would have liked from the book is that Clare had more interaction with her husband to show the distance between them, it's more of a side note in the book and I just felt that you missed that part of her life.

Even though this story was intriguing and could be captivating at times, I felt that it was missing something to really keep my interest, and it felt so much longer than it was. Clare spends most of the story searching for something and it gets a bit crazy and unbelievable at times. I can see some people enjoying this one, for me it just wasn't what I was expecting.


  1. Everything I keep hearing about this book makes me want it so so much! I liked the first book a lot, but it sounds like the follow up is even better. How does Thorne fit in though? Is he a potential new love interest for Cinder? What happened to the prince? I really need to read this book :)

  2. This book does sound interesting, so I'm sorry it fell short of the mark for you! I grew up near Galveston, so the setting piqued my interest. And I hate when books go back and forth in time too much. I love when they have flashbacks, but too many makes for a difficult read! Great review, Andrea!



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