Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
Well this was a solid Gothic/horror read. The main reason why I couldn’t give it more than 3 stars though is the last 1/3 of the book dragged, didn’t make a lot of sense, and then I think the ending may tick off some readers. No spoilers, but was very surprised that Katrina Monroe went there. I also got a little lost in the chronology along the way. I wish that Monroe had followed the descendants of Regina in order. The last 1/3 of the book going back and forth to the present with Meredith and 1970s with Judith (Meredith’s mother) just didn’t make sense and honestly work.
“They Drown Our Daughters” follows Meredith Strand. Meredith is dealing with a separation from her wife and has left their Alexandria, VA home to go back to her mother’s home on Cape Disappointment. Meredith thinks she and her young daughter Alice can take some time at the cape as long as her mother doesn’t get started about the family’s history with curses and mermaids. However, things go bad pretty quickly. There is also a mysterious red-headed girl around who has told Alice that she and her mother are both going to die. Meredith is determined to figure out what is going on and what has caused all of the women in their family to come to a bad end in the ocean.
I thought that when the book was with Meredith and the back and forth with her descendants the book worked better. Meredith knows something is off with her mother and that even though she has said her mother’s belief in a curse was just her paranoia talking, she is starting to think something or someone is stalking her and Alice. When the book delves into the mystery and then the descendants it works. But as I said earlier, when we move to the last 1/3 and we just follow Judith in the past and Meredith in the present the book drags.
I also didn’t really like Judith. No spoilers, but she wasn’t just being headstrong after a while, but really stupid. I did feel for all of the women in the book, because you get to see the different ways each women tried to protect their daughters, but how all of them, loved and missed their mothers. This really is a tale about how much mother’s love their daughters, and what lengths they will go to in order to protect them.
I thought that the writing during the first 2/3 was great. Monroe weaves a great story with us following the family matriarch (Regina) back in the 1800s who goes to a friend for a charm that will prevent her husband from leaving the family. Something goes wrong though and Regina is forced to make a terrible decision to hide what has happened. She realizes too late though that her young daughter Marina has gone missing, and that she must have walked/swam into the ocean. Things then jump back to the present and we have Meredith at the cape with her mother. Throughout the book though we follow Regina’s other daughter, then all of the female descendants who feel that something is calling to them though they don’t know why. The story-lines are tragic and the falling apart lighthouse and home are perfect settings for this tale.
The flow also goes by the wayside at the 2/3 mark. The book drags and there’s a twist and I went what and I just gave up.
The ending was bittersweet, but I do wonder how some readers are going to react to this.